Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Field Set; Schipske Pulls Out

Per the LA Times, 19 candidates are in.

The ones that have the shot at it are Valerie McDonald, Laura Richardson, and Jenny Oropeza.

Right as the filing period closed, Gerrie Schipske announced she's not filing so she can focus on representing her LB district. The LB Press-Telegram thinks quotes one local campaign advisor speculating that she was pressured out by the black caucus to help clear the field for Richardson.

I don't know if that's spin or not, but I wouldn't presume that to be the case without more sources. Are people who would have voted for Schipske move to Richardson instead of Oropeza? After all, there is a little history between Richardson and Schipske:
Kuehl's letter underscores the continuing bad blood between the gay community and Richardson over campaign mailers that went out in a Democratic primary battle more than 10 years ago. Richardson's critics say her campaign crossed the line with anti-gay statements when she unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly in 1996.

In the race, Richardson lost in a Democratic primary to Gerrie Shipske, who is openly gay. And bad feelings from Richardson's campaign in that race continue to reverberate.

Kuehl, who is a lesbian, sent a letter out Monday denouncing Richardson and urging recipients to support Oropeza. Kuehl said "Oropeza has long been a friend to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community," and that Richardson's earlier campaign mailers "were filled with homophobic hate speech so shocking that many of her biggest supporters withdrew their endorsements of her candidacy."

The mailer, sent by Richardson during her 1996 Assembly run against Gerrie Schipske, accused her opponent of being "committed to the radical gay agenda" and "strongly backed by ultra-liberal Santa Monica Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl, the Assembly's only openly gay member."

The mailer was so aggressive that it cost Richardson support, said Parke Skelton, a consultant to both Kuehl and Oropeza. "A number of [Richardson's] major supporters saw that and withdrew their endorsements," he said.
It's of note that the Schipske withdrawal from the race came after the filing period ended, so nobody else could jump in. Also, Sheila Kuehl's letter attacking Richardson for her anti-gay campaigning in a race against Schipske was on the same day Schipske dropped out. It'll be interesting to see if Schipske takes a hands off approach to the race or makes an endorsement.



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