Yeah, you know me. Or not.
Running against an incumbent for Public Service Commission presents certain challenges:
1. Nobody knows who you are.
2. Nobody knows what the PSC does.
On the bright side, considering its a down ballot statewide race, nobody knows who the incumbent is either. And they don’t know what he has or hasn’t done.
So, there are three options if you want the job:
1) Challenge the holder in the Republican primary.
2) Run as a Democrat and try and win the General.
3) Run as an Independent and try and win the General.
Option #1: Meet Pam Davidson! Challenging an incumbent in a state wide primary is tough, but cheaper than challenging in the general. You know who the voters are and you can probably mail a decent portion of them for not an insane amount of cash. And if you are Tea Party endorsed, as Miss Pam is, that’s a built in constituency that will probably vote in the R primary.
However, with your zero name recognition against an incumbent in the primary, you are starting with 0%. (Wait, first on the ballot by alphabet +10%!) And you might not want to introduce yourself to the world (or the percentage of the world that reads the AJC) like this:
Pam Davidson told the AJC in its 2008 voters’ guide that she had received a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco. Separately, documents submitted as sworn testimony to the PSC in 2003 stated Davidson received a master’s degree in public administration from the university. Neither document lists a year that she graduated.
University officials said Davidson attended the school but never earned any degree. Davidson said she had enough credits for a bachelor’s degree, but never received it. She said the sworn testimony in 2003 listing a master’s degree in her background information was a mistake made by a company she was consulting for at the time, which had filed the paperwork. .
When asked how the company got the erroneous information, Davidson said, “I have no idea.”
Davidson also did not initially report $16,334 in federal and state tax liens and judgments on a financial disclosure when she qualified to run for the state utility board.
That doesn’t look great if you want Tea Party support. And it doesn’t look good on a mail piece.
So that looks to be a good route, high Dem turnout plus an anti-incumbent mood might get you 48%. What about the other 3%? Well, you either have to buy TV time at 450k per week, or send mail pieces to all the voters who consistently vote in the general but not in the primary. That’s a tough crowd and you will have to hit them a few times, so your job is to introduce yourself not to voters (who won’t pay attention to your race for months, if at all) but to funders. And thus an op-ed is a well-thought out approach. Now to get people to publish it…
(you do have the advantage that your incumbent opponent doesn’t consider his 116K taxpayer funded position to be a full time job, unlike his fellow PSC commissioner)
and lastly #3. Meet David Staples! I know, I know, his website photo might make you think he is running for the Presidency of France, but he is challenging a Republican incumbent for PSC. So, ordinarily, a third party independent wouldn’t have much of a chance, but there is no Dem to suck off votes, which means you get to start with the 35%, and despite having a name that begins with S is first on the ballot with no chance of a runoff…hmmm.
We may have a winner.