As the number of days begin to wane until the June 5 Primary, some last-minute endorsements roll in for some candidates, some endorsements are lost, pleas for financial support are issued and voter registration is closed. All of this makes for an overflowing — and, shall we say, interesting — political notebook. Here we go.
As voter registration closed on May 21 for the June 5 Primary, Democrats have an edge in the race for Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor. Democrat V. Manuel “Manny” Perez, appointed last year to fill a vacancy, is challenged by Republican Jan Harnik, a Palm Desert City Councilmember. Though technically, the office is nonpartisan, this race has been run in large part along party lines — with some bipartisan endorsement exceptions.
As of May 21, there are 80,907 registered Democratic voters compared with 58,578 registered Republicans, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. There are 5,181 American Independent voters and a smattering of Green. Libertarian and other registered voters.
Both political candidates are taking their campaigns right down to the wire.
On May 21, Sheryl Benoit, the wife of the late Supervisor John Benoit, announced a “Rally Finale” for Harnik. The late Supervisor had asked that Harnik succeed him.
“John supported Jan, and my children and I are continuing to support her,” Sheryl Benoit said in her rally announcement. “We ask that you honor John’s wishes and elect Jan Harnik our next County Supervisor. Ben, Sarah, and I will be hosting a fundraiser for Jan on May 30th ….
In what some considered the political surprise of the season, longtime Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, who also serves as the Chair of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) Executive Committee, endorsed Perez. Ashley, who is a registered Republican, joins a bi-partisan coalition backing Perez.
In announcing his support, Ashley released a statement. It reads in part that “Manuel listens, works hard, brings people together, and gets things done without worrying about who takes the credit. I believe that the residents of the Coachella and Palo Verde valleys are fortunate to have had effective leaders such as Supervisors Roy Wilson and John Benoit serve their district. Manuel is continuing the legacies of those great leaders while also creating his own.”
Ashley filled in to serve the Fourth Supervisorial District after the passing of both former Supervisors Wilson and Benoit.
The Supervisors race will be decided June 5.
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Dan Ball, one of five Republican candidates seeking the 36th Congressional District seat now held by Democratic Congressman and physician Raul Ruiz, lost a key endorsement.
Richard “Dick” Oliphant, president of the Lincoln Club of the Coachella Valley, who was one of the first to enthusiastically endorse Ball and called Kimberlin Brown Pelzer a “carpetbagger,” has withdrawn his endorsement.
“I have endorsed Dan through the campaign,” Oliphant told Uken Report. “Now that we are in the last couple of weeks, it is obvious Dan has not been able to broaden his support or raise any money. It has become obvious that when the rubber hits the road, it will be Kimberlin winning the primary. We have to support Kimberlin as she has the only chance against Dr. Ruiz.”
Ball has respectfully accepted the withdrawal.
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Speaking of Dan Ball, the guy is a political glutton for punishment. He is the only candidate in the 36th Congressional District race to list his cellphone number in the official voter guide for the June 5 top-two election.
Ball said it is show his willingness to be accessible and transparent.
He has often criticized for Rep. Ruiz for not being accessible to his constituents and not listening to them.
In an interview with Uken Report last fall, Ball said of Ruiz, “ I guarantee you, his voting record does not show he’s cared for all of the people of this district. You have to take everybody into consideration. Not just a specific group that might get you elected, but all of the people. To me, he’s been a rubber stamp and that’s not how I will legislate.”
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Amidst all of the political posturing, was the dedication Friday, May 25, of Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park in La Quinta.
Providing special music for the event was the Glee Choir of La Quinta’s Benjamin Franklin Elementary School .
Pupils from the school have played a major role in the dedication of the park to veterans. About 20 of their letters were selected to be included a time capsule on the site.
The county park is located at 58-075 Jefferson St., La Quinta.
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Doug Hassett, a Republican candidate for the 36th Congressional District from La Quinta, has lived in the Coachella Valley for nearly three decades — and his local roots are garnering some love from both current and former elected officials.
They include Palm Desert Mayor Sabby Jonathan, former Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa, Indian Wells City Councilmember Dana Reed, former La Quinta City Councilmember Lee Osborne, state Sen. Mike Morrell from District 23, and former president of the Rancho Mirage Republican Women Federated Darlene Casella.
In a twist that is vintage Hassett, he adds his mother, Betty Hassett of La Quinta, among those who have endorsed him in the June 5 election. Let’s hear it for Mom!
- V. Manuel Perez: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez