Scratching a little below the surface reveals who candidates are receiving support from; Who matters, contributors or constituents?

  Elk Grove voters are swamped with mailers, and increasingly during this election cycle, online and social media political advertising. As ...


Elk Grove voters are swamped with mailers, and increasingly during this election cycle, online and social media political advertising. As is the practice, top tier candidates receive advertising support from so-called independent expenditure committees. 

Voters have been receiving mailers from groups with fairly evident names about their intentions. For example, Sacramento County Board of Supervisor District 5 candidate Pat Hume has received independent support from groups like the Committee for Home Ownership, which is not surprisingly funded by home builders, construction companies, and other real estate development interests.

Thanks to mailers from District 8 State Senate candidate Dave Jones there are groups like Californians For a Jobs and a Strong Economy, who is supporting one of his opponents, Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby, that voters have learned are funded by big oil. Likewise, Jones has benefited from mailers from a group called California Alliance, which is supported by consumer attorneys and several labor unions. 

In the 10th District California Assembly race, two contenders similarly benefit from independent committees. Elk Grove City Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen has received support from a group called Leaders for California Recovery.

That group is primarily funded by California Assemblymember Evan Low. Low's contributors reveal the usual benefactors, including labor unions, Indian gambling casinos, law enforcement interests, real estate companies, and general business interests.   

For Low, who has about $2 million in campaign funds, betting on a Nguyen victory will put her in his corner as he tries moving up the political food chain. In the race for the open seat, Nguyen gets much-needed independent support for her campaign. 

The group that sent a mailer on Guerra's behalf has a more interesting pedigree. As stated on the mailer for Guerra we call "Reproductive rights are under attack," was paid for by Families & Teachers United, sponsored by California Charter Schools Association. 

The charter school movement is a sometimes continuous item with Democratic Party regulars. Teachers, a traditional California Democratic Party supporter, generally opposes charter school, while a significant minority of Democrat are more supportive.

Looking one level down on the Family and Teachers United reveals a bigger bogeyman for many Democrats, especially union members. Late last year Jim Walton of Bentonville, Ark.-based Arvest Bank contributed $45,000 to Families and Teachers. 

Walton is from the Walton Family of Walmart. Although vitriol against the retailing giant has subsided in recent years, the company is still the antithesis of many Democratic elected officials, voters, and large financial supporters like unions. 

By law, independent committees cannot coordinate with candidates or their campaigns, which gives them plausible deniability. But ask yourself, have you ever seen a candidate denounce or repudiate an expenditure on their behalf?

This brings us back to the Guerra campaign, which has the support and endorsement of influential groups like the Service Employees International Union and various teacher unions. Are these supporters aware or even care that people like Walton also support their candidate even indirectly?

And what about candidates. Do they care that they are supported by opposing forces or is victory the only thing that matters, and they'll deal with these conflicting interests later?

These candidates probably are not concerned and could not be bothered because winning is all that matters right now. But someday, there will be a phone call or knock on the door, and you have to wonder if they will act in the interest of contributors or constituents.

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