Joan Buchanan’s state senate was endorsed by the 
California Teachers Association. 

STATE SENATE | 7TH DISTRICT | Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters has been to many political rodeos in California. In a column Monday, Walters laid out a very cynical, but truthful view of the campaign shenanigans taking center stage in next week’s special election primary in the 7th State Senate District. Campaigns viewed as front runners have often tried to surreptitiously help weaker candidates usurp stronger challengers, wrote Walters.

The tactic is based on a theory that a substantial number of voters aren’t really paying attention and can be fooled into voting a certain way. But, one wonders, will it work in the 7th district, where the voters are mostly upper-middle class suburbanites? It’s getting heavy media attention in the district and could backfire on Bonilla. 

The CTA’s IE contributed the Asian American Small
Business PAC in February, but the expenditure didn’t
show up until last week.

It’s becoming clear that voters in this district, who typically have higher than average turnout, in fact, are paying attention and are also energized during this odd year special election.

However, the sense outside interests are meddling in the district’s state senate race, could alternately affect Democrat Joan Buchanan, as well. Conventional wisdom says the push to marginalize Glazer helps Bonilla, but it more likely helps Buchanan.

Two special interests entities are driving the perceived chicanery in this primary race: the labor-backed Asian American Small Business PAC and an Independent Expenditure committee (IE) calling itself Working Families Opposing Glazer for Senate 2015. Both have ties directly to Buchanan, according to finance records.

First, the California Teachers Association endorsed Buchanan in late January. Last Thursday, a $35,000 contribution was posted to the Working Families Opposing Glazer IE by the teachers’ union. The next day, the California Teachers Association IE spent $145,000 for a radio advertisement supporting Buchanan.

Notably, a $40,000 contribution from the California Teachers Association’s IE was reported on their most recent campaign finance report, through Feb. 28, to the Asian American Small Business PAC. The group raised attention recently when it spent over $100,000 to support the Republican who had already dropped out the race and opposed Glazer’s campaign. However, the contribution is absent from the Asian American Small Business PAC’s report.

The CTA also has a certain history with centrist Democrat Steve Glazer from last year’s 16th District Assembly race. The teachers’ union fought vigorously to successfully force Glazer out the top two last fall. However, the narrative created by Glazer in June helped defeat CTA’s preferred candidate, Tim Sbranti.

Further down the line, Democrats may be playing with fire in the outer East Bay. They bucked trends and elected Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker for a reason and it wasn’t because they enjoyed behind-the-scenes political maneuvering.