This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.
Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, is the most moderate member of the California delegation in the House of Representatives, according to the National Journal's 2009 vote ratings.
McNerney's composite conservative score is 46.8, which means he is more conservative than 46.8 percent of his House colleagues nationwide. The closest conservative scores among other Democrats from California were for Reps. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwood, and Jim Costa, D-Fresno, 44.7 and 46.2 percent respectively.
The National Journal is a well-respected, nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based organization that publishes, among other things, the annual Almanac of American Politics.
The journal staff based the scores on member's votes on 92 economic, social and foreign policy issues in 2009.
For comparison purposes, GOP Rep. Tom McClintock of Rocklin is the most conservative California congressman and ranks ninth in the House with a score of 92.8 percent. On the other side of the aisle, Reps. Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood, and Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, are tied for the spot as No. 1 liberal in the House.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not rated as the speaker rarely votes.
McNerney has grown more conservative since his first year in office in 2007, when his voting record was 70 percent more liberal than that of his House colleagues. In 2008, that percentage dropped to 55 percent. It fell slightly in 2009, to 53.2 percent more liberal or, put another way, his conservative composite score was 46.8.
Centrism is an uneasy place to stand on the political spectrum. Both liberals and conservatives often view moderates with disdain.
McNerney is seeking re-election to a third term in one of the few competitive districts in the state. It is less competitive than it used to be: Republicans hold only a small lead, less than one-quarter of 1 percent, down from a 6 percentage point advantage when McNerney beat then-Republican incumbent Richard Pombo in 2006.
— Lisa Vorderbrueggen
In what seems to be its only California campaign contribution so far in the 2009-10 election cycle, the National Organization for Marriage — a Virginia-based organization that helped support and bankroll Proposition 8 in 2008, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage — last week gave $5,000 to John Eastman's campaign for state Attorney General.
Eastman, who stepped down as dean of the Chapman University School of Law in Orange in order to launch this campaign a few weeks ago, has been trying to tack to the right of his GOP primary rivals; he won the endorsement of the California Republican Assembly, the conservative grass roots arm of the party, this past weekend.
The "Issues and Philosophy" section of Eastman's Web site says, "California's Attorney General has a constitutional duty and obligation to defend the people, including defending ballot measures passed by the people. Jerry Brown failed his constitutional duty when he not only refused to defend Proposition 8 (traditional marriage), but worked to help to overturn it. John Eastman would reverse this policy and defend Proposition 8 and other voter-enacted measures when challenged."
The campaign Web sites of Republican AG primary candidates state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, and Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley make little mention of marriage or Proposition 8. A Feb. 24 news release on Harman's site takes Cooley to task for having "polished his liberal credentials by coming to current Attorney General Jerry Brown's defense for entering the legal battle against traditional marriage," but doesn't explicitly describe Harman's own views.
NOM describes itself as "a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it." Activists claim it's essentially a front group passing through enormous sums of money from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon church) to fight same-sex marriage from coast to coast.
NOM Executive Director Brian Brown was among the co-hosts of a Feb. 22 fundraiser for Eastman in Washington, D.C. NOM's direct contribution came March 2.
— Josh Richman