Politicians endorsing politicians - Help or hindrance?


 

Endorsements are a curious political commodity. 

Candidates crave them, and sometimes they are meaningful. Most candidates, particularly Democratic candidates during the 2022 California primary season, are fortunate to have been endorsed by Planned Parenthood. 

Sometimes candidates desire endorsements from prominent daily newspapers. That type of support offers a campaign credibility, but given the diminished role of publications like the Sacramento Bee, much less community newspapers or online websites, they are nothing more than a morale booster.

Then there are endorsements from politicians. As we have seen from former President Donald Trump, sometimes they help, and sometimes they are a hindrance.

But what about endorsements from lower-level elected officials? While they can be of assistance, often they can be an anchor on a candidacy.

 

An example of this is Sacramento City Councilmember and District 8 State Senate candidate Angelique Ashby. Appearing with Ashby in some of her mailers was former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis.

We have heard from several people that Davis' appearance in Ashby's mailer made them less likely to support her in the primary and general election. Maybe Ashby was unaware of Davis's strong negatives with many Elk Grove voters.

Then there is another category that we are seeing in real-time that can be problematic for candidates. Those are past endorsements they made that are resurrected and used as a bludgeon.  

An example of this is Elk Grove City Councilmember and 10th District California Assembly candidate Stephanie Nguyen. Nguyen's endorsement of Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones is being heavily promoted to registered Democratic voters in a mailer and TV commercial paid by an independent expenditure committee. 

 


The mailer reminds voters Jones is a Trump supporter and, given her association with the sheriff, can Nguyen be considered a trustworthy Democrat. People within Nguyen's campaign argue voters are concerned with issues like homelessness, and the Trump weapon will have minimal effect, but for many Democrats, any whiff of association with Trump is a non-starter. 

What about some of our local elected officials and the cross-party endorsements they are making. Most notably, two Democrats on the Elk Grove City Council, Vice Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and Vice Mayor Darren Suen, have endorsed their Republican city council colleague Pat Hume who is running for the 5th District Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.  

In recent days Hume's campaign has deployed heavy online advertising against Democrat Consumnes Community Services District Director Jaclyn Moreno and independent former Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly. Highlighted in many of the ads were Singh-Allen and Suen's endorsements.

If Hume wins and aligns with fellow Republican Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost and adopts her governing philosophy, it will haunt the mayor and vice mayor. But the effects on them we expect will be vastly different. 

For Suen, aside from winning reelection to Elk Grove's District 1 seat, his upward mobility is limited. Regardless of who wins in the 10th Assembly, 8th Senate, and 5th Supervisory seats, those individuals will hold those seats for years to come.

Besides, Suen's attempt to move up failed when he lost his bid to unseat former Mayor Steve Ly in 2018. His endorsement of Hume could be used as he seeks reelection, but it will have little effect in a small by-district election. 

For Singh-Allen, her Hume endorsement could be problematic. While Singh-Allen, like Suen, has limited upward mobility, she does have one potential opportunity in the coming years where the Hume endorsement could come back to smack her. 

The one-seat Singh-Allen could be poised to make a legitimate run for is the U.S. House of Representatives. While Singh-Allen is unlikely to challenge fellow Democrat U.S. Representative Doris Matsui, the long-serving representative will be 78 if she is reelected as expected next November.

When Matsui either retires or is not reelected, that seat could represent a real opportunity for many Democratic candidates, including Singh-Allen. For Singh-Allen, that Hume endorsement will always be out there.

Hume could prove to be an effective and fair supervisor, or he could adhere to his stated philosophies. In 2017 he said of climate change, "there is an aspect of voodoo science to it that's un-provable," and "Dinosaurs didn't drive cars and where are they today?" See video below. 

If Singh-Allen wants to move up the food chain, she ought to hope Hume is pragmatic and not remain true to his "voodoo science" climate change denialism.  That would be of no help to Singh-Allen, it will be a hindrance to her future ambitions.



 
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2 comments

Eye on Elk Grove said...
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Eye on Elk Grove said...

These local elected officials have one thing in common: Their big egos and politics coincide with building their lives around improving their own self-image which has clearly become their way of life.

Public service was never intended to be about promoting oneself. But the group pictured here didn’t seem to get the memo.

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