In Elk Grove's non-partisan races, affiliations die hard for politicians like Pat Hume

November 2, 2018

Even though several local races on the ballots of Elk Grove voters are officially non-partisan, party loyalties die hard.

One of the best examples of this is in the race between incumbent District 2 council member Pat Hume and his challenger, Andres Ramos. Of the three races for the Elk Grove City Council, two of the contests, for District 4 and the mayor, have all Democratic candidates, and it's only in the District 2 race that there is a Republican, Hume, and Ramos, the Democrat.

Hume has served three terms on the city council and enjoys name recognition in the community. Though he has not been overtly partisan in his races, when he was first elected in 2006 Elk Grove was still a majority Republican enclave.

Since that time for several reasons, Elk Grove has gone from red to purple to light blue. Could this be the year Elk Grove goes from light blue to a darker shade?

During his tenure as a council member and a planning commission for six years before that, Hume has evolved from someone who was philosophically a limited-government fiscal hawk who during his first year on the council refused to deliberate federal block grants for the city to a politician who now opposes Proposition 6. That proposition which is on this year's ballot and popular with most conservative voters would repeal the gasoline sales tax hike that has become a lifeline to address Elk Grove's self-induced $8 million annual road maintenance shortfall.

Even as the fiscal realities of funding city operation's have made Hume less ideological and more pragmatic, on several occasions portions of his Republican philosophy have worked their way into his governance.

A prime example came during a city council meeting on July 26, 2017 discussion on whether Mayor Steve Ly should sign the Mayor's National Climate Action Agenda of the Paris Climate Accords. At that meeting, Hume did not object to Ly signing the document as Mayor of Elk Grove, but he did opine that climate change has elements of what he called "voodoo science." (see video below)   

Conversely, Hume has on occasion taken positions unpopular with his Republican base. One such time was when he supported exploring the use of so-called small houses to help address Elk Grove's rapidly growing homeless population.  

For his support of exploring the idea, Hume was skewered on social media and exploration of the idea died.

Going into this reelection bid, Hume appeared to be unchallenged as he was in 2014. Nevertheless, Ramos entered the race relatively late, and while he does not have the financial resources of Hume, he has received substantial support from Ly, and more significantly in recent days, the Sacramento County Democratic Central Committee. 

The Democratic group has sent several mailers in support of Ramos and four other candidates in Elk Grove races. Perhaps sensing blood, they also dedicated one mailer solely to Ramos.

Aware of the environment created by President Donald Trump, Hume's team seems to be keeping his Republican roots at arms-length. An example of this is one of his mailers where not only does Hume avoids mention of his party affiliation, he used an image with prominent Democratic elected officials from Elk Grove including Congressman Dr. Ami Bera and California State Assemblymember Jim Cooper.  

Furthermore, on Friday, November 2 on liberal-leaning cable news network MSNBC between 5 and 6 a.m., four 30-second spots for Hume aired. While it is not known if the media buy specified MSNBC, the commercials nonetheless reached a much different audience than those who would be viewing the conservative cable outlet Fox News, where Elk Grove voters watching that network are already predisposed for Hume.   

Still, Hume has not completely let go of his political heritage as evidenced by a slate mailer received by Republican voters in Elk Grove this week. This particular mailer was the so-called Jim Lacy's Taxifornia Tax Fighter's Newsletter (see below).

Author of Taxifornia: Liberals' Laboratory to Bankrupt America, Lacy's slate mailer includes positions on ballot propositions popular with conservative and Republican voters. Among them are Yes on 5 and 6, and No on 8 and 10. Also buying space on the mailer is the only other Republican running for local office this year in Elk Grove, Jerry Braxmeyer, who is one of four candidates, the three others are Democrats, who are seeing two open seats on the Cosumnes Community Services  District Board of Directors. 

While Hume is still considered the front-runner based on his incumbency, his appeal to Democratic voters indicate he is not taking Ramos' challenge lightly, and that Elk Grove could be part of what some forecasters are predicting a blue wave. If the tactics work,  Hume could ride that wave and would be one of the last Republican officials elected in Elk Grove for some time to come.   



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Eye on Elk Grove said...

With Pat Hume's political sign tagline of "Common sense, uncommon leadership," Hume is clearly skirting the fact that he is a Republican and trying to deceive Democrats here in Elk Grove.

In one mailer alone, among several deceptive mailers, Hume, pictured alongside fellow Republican Steve Detrick, are Democrats Ami Bera and Jim Cooper; both of whom also up for reelection.

It is widely known, and confirmed, that Bera does not endorse in local elections. I believe Cooper has backed away from this race because Andres Ramos is an upcoming shining star in the Democratic party. Did Hume get Cooper's and Bera's permission to use this picture in a mailer clearly aimed at Democrats?

I wonder like his party's leader, when asked his political affiliation, Hume "tells the truth when I can."

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Even though I agree with the assessment that Mr. Hume will win this contest, if Mr. Ramos succeeds it would be rife with irony.

As we may recall, Mr. Hume waffled on the by-district vs. from-district debates, such as it was several months ago. Mr. Hume came down on the from-district side calling it an "elegant" way of representation.

Would it not be ironic if Mr. Hume loses on a citywide ballot to Mr. Ramos given voters in rural Sheldon and Old Elk Grove, as some people now call it, in District 2 would likely have given him the seat in a landslide victory?

Perhaps this is why he taking the candidacy of Mr. Ramos like his political life is hanging in the lurch.

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