March Madness

Typically regarded a shoo-in, 10-term Republican Congressman
Elton Gallegly — whose district includes much of inland Santa
Barbara County — announced last Friday he would not seek
re-election in June, citing serious but unspecified health
problems. Because the legal deadline to file had expired,
Gallegly’s decision spurred a desperate though futile scramble
among replacement Republicans hoping to jump into the race. As it
stands, Gallegly’s name will remain on the ballot. The only other
Republican in the running is 37-year-old attorney Michael
Tenenbaum, a recent party activist who has questioned Gallegly’s
credentials as a fiscal conservative — leaving a few within the
party nonplussed. Mike Stoker, a former Santa Barbara county
supervisor now working for California State Senator Tom McClintock,
indicated he would run as a write-in candidate unless an unlikely
filing extension was granted.

The post-Gallegly era wasted no time getting nasty. Early in the
week, Tenenbaum’s camp denied authoring an inflammatory press
release circulated under his name, calling the memo — which
referred to “neo-Nazi feminists” and made personally insulting
attacks on the Democratic candidates — a fraud designed to
undermine Tenenbaum’s campaign. Meanwhile, turmoil raged among
Democrats in the staunchly Republican district; on Monday, Mary
Pallant of Ventura County announced her withdrawal from the race,
claiming her opponent Jill Martinez, an ordained minister and
affordable-housing advocate, was spreading false rumors about
Pallant, her relatives, and her campaign director. Martinez denied
any knowledge of Pallant’s claims, pledging to fire anyone in her
campaign who was associated with the rumor. Last week, Brett Wagner
announced his withdrawal from the field so he could initiate a
recall campaign against 3rd District Supervisor Brooks


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