Two invisible candidates are running for our state Senate seat

Voters in the first state Senate district have less than 2 weeks to decide who they want to represent them in Sacramento, but don’t expect to see either one of the candidates before you cast your vote.

Brian Dahle, who represents Nevada County in the state Assembly, has avoided making any public appearances in the county since declaring his candidacy to replace former Senator Ted Gaines. His opponent, fellow Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, is also missing in action.

Brian Dahle and his little red wagon.

If you’re a Republican and attended the local party’s annual dinner in PLACER County Saturday night, you were able to meet and hear Kiley speak–Dahle said he had an engagement elsewhere in Placer County. As you would expect from Republicans, you had to pay $40 to meet him at the VIP reception or $85 to have dinner with Kiley, who apparently devoted his speech to blasting Dahle.

So much for Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment!

The candidates remind me of Republican Sharron Angle’s run against Senator Harry Reid in 2010. Angle disappeared during the last two weeks of the campaign, making unannounced private–almost secret–visits with small groups and avoiding the media whenever possible.

Our problem is that both candidates are acting this way, apparently deciding to avoid the media and public while running their campaigns through mailers and social media, where they have total control of the message.

Except, of course, when they screw up. Dahle, apparently courting the county fair crowd, professed on his Facebook page to be a fan of all county fairs in his district. He held up signs expressing love for all of them–except the 1 in Nevada County. Jeff “Podunk” Pelline says he called Dahle on it and, based on Jeffy’s reporting, clumsily tried to lie his way out of the gaff. This is the kind of representation we need in Sacramento?

Newspapers in the district, which have been hollowed out by years of cutbacks, are devoting little energy to holding the candidates accountable. There has been practically no coverage since the primary, when they were forced to surface if for no other reason than to distinguish themselves from the other candidates. I’m sure we’ll see straight-down-the-middle profiles of each before election day, but most of the people who care in Nevada County will have voted by then.

Each candidate seems content to add to his endless list of endorsements–most of them people you never heard of–while standing 4-square for the local motherhood issues: Low taxes, good schools, stop wildfires, etc., etc.

Kevin Kiley

Kiley claims he started the campaign with a $500,000 war chest and has been spending it on mailers trying to woo Nevada County Republicans. Meanwhile, Dahle is reaching out to people in the Democratic Party. My wife received a letter recently from a couple who claimed they lost their home in the Paradise fire, asking her to support Dahle against PG&E and other special interests. The letter contained a Paradise street address. Maybe their mail box survived the fire.

Then we received a mailer claiming Kiley has taken $500,000 from PG&E and other special interests, apparently accounting for his campaign war chest. The mailer also lists 5 instances where Dahle “held PG&E accountable for wildfires” while Kiley (of course) didn’t. The flyer doesn’t mention Dahle’s participation in crafting legislation that will let the utility offload some of its liabilities on rate payers, a major issue now that state officials have formally blamed PG&E for starting the Camp Fire.

Each claims to be the most conservative candidate while bashing special interests that traditionally support Republican candidates. A review of past campaign contributions shows that both–particularly Dahle–have accepted plenty of money from special interests.

As for me, I’ve already thrown out my ballot. Since I can find out little or nothing about Kiley (his campaign web site is no help), I’m essentially flying blind if I vote. It doesn’t matter who wins  anyway because he’ll be a member of a super minority in the senate.

But who knows: Maybe the winner will start appearing at public forums when he has to run again in 2020.

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This entry was posted in Assemblyman Brian Dahle, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, Politics, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Two invisible candidates are running for our state Senate seat

  1. rl crabb says:

    Look for a huge undervote in this election. Time to dump this top two BS.

  2. Bruce says:

    Good morning, George. I’m sure you take care to get your facts correct, so in the vein of helping you do that:

    This column went live online May 22. Brian held a *free* community coffee in Grass Valley on May 21, as well as attending a South Yuba River Citizens League fundraiser for the bridge the same day. He had plans to be in the Penn Valley Rodeo Parade on Saturday, but it was cancelled for the weather. He had detailed interview the other week with Alan from The Union, which was published in the paper.

    As for the fairs, the counties of the 1st Assembly District contain no fewer than a dozen of them, and there are few more in other parts of the 1st Senate District. Brian was holding signs for five of them — not “all of them–except the 1 in Nevada County.” He didn’t even have a sign for the Intermountain Fair, which his wife’s grandfather ran for years and is the closest he has to a hometown fair. The notion that Nevada County was singled out for a snub is just false.

    • How come none of these events were publicized in advance on Dahle’s campaign web site? Didn’t he want as many people as possible to show up?

      As for the county fairs, his campaign people should be smart enough to realize that if you can’t include all of the fairs in the district, you shouldn’t mention any of them. Politics 101.

  3. Bruce says:

    The coffee was promoted as an event on the campaign Facebook page, which is our most prominent avenue for communication these days.

    Appreciate the political advice. I just wanted to clarify the misconception that Nevada County’s wonderful fairgrounds was the only one left out.

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