State Senator Targeted in Recall

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, February 25, 2008

The recall effort is called the “Dump Denham” campaign… It’s aimed at Republican state Senator Jeff Denham.  Recall supporters have submitted signatures to put the question before voters in the 12th Senate District: Should the Merced-area lawmaker be recalled from office?  Denham says Democratic Senate Leader Don Perata is behind the campaign: 

 “I think it’s about control and I’m going to continue to fight it.  I’m not going to be bullied. And I think there are other members here who aren’t going to be bullied as well…”
It all started during last year’s budget stalemate. G.O.P members held out on voting for a spending plan through much of the summer—saying more cuts were needed.  It angered majority Democrats. It only takes two Republican votes in the upper house to pass a budget.  But Denham was one of fifteen G.O.P hold outs. 

 So why is he being targeted? He represents a district that’s considered more moderate whose representatives may be more likely to peel off and provide a vote.  But he didn’t.  Paul Hefner with the recall campaign says Denham has misrepresented himself. 

 “The voters of the 12th District have pretty clearly said by signing a petition that they don’t want to wait three years for honest representation in the 12th District.”
But it’s not all about payback:  Democrats have been eyeing that “moderate” district of Denham’s.  Replacing him with a Democrat would make it easier to pass a budget. Then they’d need only one Republican vote. 

“It is both down and dirty partisan politics and a question of principle.”
Tim Hodson is with the Sacramento-based Center for California Studies.  He says the recall effort also serves as a warning. 

 “Democrats have been frustrated with this over the years and with Senator Denham saw an opportunity to say there will be public cost for your refusal to support a budget.”

It’s not a done deal.  The signatures still must be certified.  Then Governor Schwarzenegger—who was elected in a recall himself—must formally call the election.