The editors at the San Francisco Chronicle have endorsed Republican Pete Peterson for secretary of state in California. Here's an excerpt from the endorsement:
The conventional wisdom in modern politics is that Democrats will do almost anything to to expand the voting pool — given their advantage with casual voters — and Republicans will do almost anything to suppress it. Examples have included GOP efforts to require voter IDs, limit voting times and locations, purge the rolls, and preserve barriers to easy registration.
Peterson breaks from the party line on voter participation. He is committed to increasing it. He said voter-ID laws were “just bad policy” because “the research is explicit” that fraud is not a problem at the polling place. He also wants to aggressively increase registration and turnout — and, unlike many of his party brethren, does not believe it will necessarily benefit Democrats.
“When this (Republican) party is at its best, there’s a populist theme undergirding it,” he said.
Peterson, who earlier this year received the Los Angeles Times's endorsement, is one of the few Republican candidates with a real chance at winning a statewide race in California. Democrats were damaged considerably when the party's leading candidate, state senator Leland Yee, was arrested and charged for gun trafficking and political corruption.
Peterson has made political corruption in Democratically-controlled Sacramento the cornerstone of his campaign:
Yee is actually the third current Democratic senator under suspension. In January Roderick Wright of Los Angeles was convicted on charges of voter fraud and perjury, and in February, a federal grand jury indicted Ronald Montebello on 24 felony counts, including bribery. As Peterson likes to say, that’s 10 percent of the Democratic caucus facing criminal charges.
That may explain why Peterson’s top opponent isn’t ahead in the polls. In California, candidates are identified on the ballot not only by their party affiliation but by their occupation. Next to Democrat Alex Padilla’s name is this black mark: “state senator.”
“That used to be a way of showing that the candidate had experience,” Peterson says. “Now, it’s more of a millstone.”
Peterson is hoping to harness what he says is an increasing feeling around the state that one-party rule by Democrats in Sacramento has given corrupt politicians the go-ahead. “I’m framing myself as an outsider,” he says.