The calendar shows that we are now 554 days away from the next election in California.... an awfully long away sounding time for those outside of the political world, but apparently not so long away for a number of incumbent politicians jockeying for the next big job.
On Monday morning, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, announced he'll be a candidate for secretary of state in 2014. Yee, who's created a niche in the California Legislature for bills related to campaign finance and government disclosure issues, said in a press release that one of his platforms will be a push for casting ballots online.
"If we can safely pay our bills via the internet and board an airplane with a smart phone, we should be able to securely and easily vote electronically as well," said Yee.
Yee placed fifth in a crowded 2011 mayoral race in San Francisco, and he could also face a crowded race to become the state's top elections officer. Records show that four other Democrats, also all soon-to-be termed out of office, have active campaign accounts for the job: assemblymembers Charles Calderon and Mike Davis, and senators Elaine Alquist and Alex Padilla.
That's the same number of Democrats with active campaign committees to replace termed out state Controller John Chiang in 2014. That list includes ex-legislators Dario Frommer and Dean Florez; termed out state Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello; termed out state Board of Equalization member Betty Yee of San Francisco; and termed out state Treasurer Bill Lockyer of Hayward. Lockyer is the real headliner of the list, having served continuously in Sacramento since 1973 as a legislator and as attorney general before his now seventh year as treasurer, but others could make a campaign of it... even as the Bay Area pol sits on a $2.3 million campaign warchest.
And who, you may ask, is the most prominent candidate for Lockyer's current job? That would be the man he seeks to replace as controller, John Chiang. The Los Angeles Democrat is the odds-on favorite to move from California's paymaster to banker. Termed out state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, and former Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez also have active campaign committees for the 2014 treasurer's race.
It's important to note that not all of these politicians may be serious about another run for office; some may simply be using these committees as a place to temporarily park leftover cash from previous political campaigns.
And lest one thinks the jockeying is just those who are about to leave office, or those seeking yet another term in their current job, consider this news nugget: a number of the men and women elected to serve in the Legislature just three weeks ago... and who won't even be sworn into office until December 3... have already opened campaign accounts for their 2014 reelection efforts.
How's that for thinking ahead?