5th District State Senate Campaigning Down to the Wire
It’s one of the most heated and expensive -- races for a state senate seat in California history. Incumbent Mike Machado and challenger Gary Podesto are battling for the 5th Senate District. As Bob Hensley reports, they’re campaigning down to the wi
Friday, October 22, 2004
(ns #1)(applause)—Thank you very much, it’s good to be back here on campus. (fade and hold) State Senator Mike Machado recently visited his alma mater, U-C Davis, to address the school’s Democrat Club. Machado, a Democrat from the San Joaquin County town of Linden, is fighting to keep the seat that he won four years ago. Meanwhile, Republican challenger Gary Podesto, the Mayor of Stockton, is out many days talking with business people, citizens and farmers. (SB # 4)Yeah, it’s been a, it’s been a good season so far, so we can’t complain. Better than a few years ago? Oh that’s for darn sure. (fade and hold) The race for the 5th Senate District has been notable for the vast amounts of money being spent. A lot of it is funneled into TV ads the campaigns hope will appeal to as many voters as possible in the politically varied district, which includes San Joaquin, and parts of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano counties. I’m Gary Podesto, as Mayor of the city of Stockton I lead an effort to bring community leaders together to rebuld the city and to make Stockton a place where our kids can stay find a job and buy an affordable home – and we made developers pay their fair share. Podesto has received the endorsement of Governor Schwarzenegger. But Machado, in his ads, attempts to court Republican voters by linking himself to the governor, while at the same time promoting endorsements from prominent Democrats. In fact governor Schwarzenegger has signed more laws written by Democrat Mike Machado than for any Republican in the state Senate ..”I don’t always agree with Arnold and that’s why I’m supported by Senator Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.” More than ten million dollars may end up being raised and spent on this race, which would break a national record for a state legislative contest. The candidates are accusing each other of dirty fundraising tactics. In August Machado was find more than 60-thousand dollars by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission for a violation of campaign contribution laws. The parties are sending big money to this race because of something that happened three years ago; the legislature reshaped senate and assembly districts. Bob Stern with the non partisan Center for Governmental Studies says the result was safer seats for most incumbent lawmakers. (SB # 2) :15— This isn’t one of them. So with so few competitive races in California they’re using this as a way to funnel their money and to send a message to Sacramento in terms of which party is going to prevail. The amount of money being hauled in is sparking concerns the winner might be beholden to special interest groups. Senator Machado insists he won’t be influenced. (SB # 8) :05—We will vote for the people and work for the people that we’ve represented, just as we have done for the past ten years. Mayor Podesto has a similar response. (SB # 6) :13—They just want to know that they have access and they have your ear. But they understand that you’re going to make the decisions that are best for the citizens of your district and in fact the state. I have never felt an obligation because somebody has contributed to my campaign. The issues have often been overshadowed in this race. CSU Stanislaus Political Science Professor Larry Giventer says development and jobs are at the top of the list in the district. (SB # 1) :20—Machado is accusing Podesto of essentially being in the pocket of developers. And Podesto is accusing Machado of not being responsive to regional interests, in particular not supporting the kind of investments that would lead to increased employment and potentially increased prosperity for the region. Another issue is balancing the state budget. Both candidates agree it must happen, but they disagree on how to approach the problem. Podesto has taken a no tax pledge and says making the state more hospitable to business would generate revenue and close the budget gap. (SB # 7) :18—We have them lining up in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon and doing what I call milking the cow through the fence. They’re building their plants there. They’re coming in here and selling their product and then going back over there and that means they’re creating jobs over there, and revenue there, yet they’re selling the product because we are the market. We are 34 million people. In his address to the Democrat Club at U-C Davis, Machado chastised Podesto for his no tax pledge. (SB # 10) :20—Do we cut or do we or do we find other ways to raise revenue to balance. It’s going to take both sides coming together to be able to do this. What’s important is what tools you bring to the table for the discussion. And my opponent has said he’s not going to raise taxes, he’s taken a no tax pledge. He’s already hampered the tools he’s going to bring. With just over a week to go before Election Day, both candidates are confident of victory. But whoever wins, this race may be remembered mostly for money and mudslinging. Bob Hensley KXJZ News.