LOS ANGELES: On February 10, 2012, then-California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that removed the write-in space from California’s general election ballots for Congress and state partisan offices. So in California, the only time a write-in candidate is allowed on the ballot is during the primary election.
California’s infamous “jungle primary” already entrenches the two-party, and in the case of California, one party, dominance. So the primary would be the only chance for an earnest third-party or no-party-affiliated candidate to get a competitive edge over the business as usual rubber-stamped incumbent or party-selected candidate.
District 25 State Senator Anthony Portantino fits the term rubber stamp to a T.
From his six-year-long career in the California State Assembly (2006-2012) to his four years in the State Senate (2016), he has followed the party line from his anti-gun ownership stance to his promotion and vote for AB5. AB5 is the so-called “Gig Workers” law that has removed a person’s right to choose to work in the way that fits their life, their schedule, and their preference.
Portantino is up for re-election this year and would run unopposed if not for two write-in candidates: Kathleen Hazelton, a Republican, and Evan Wecksell, a Libertarian.
Who is Kathleen Hazelton?
Save for two Facebook pages with a combined showing of 137 friends, Kathleen Hazelton has little social media presence. She has no campaign website, and she hasn’t even claimed or filled out her Ballotpedia entry or her information on Our Campaigns.com.
A primary school teacher and a deceased woman in Ann Arbor, Michigan of the same name are listed in the first 10 hits when you search “Kathleen Hazelton”. So it appears she does not have a ground game.
Kathleen Hazelton’s positions are posted randomly on her Facebook timeline, not someplace prominent, like the “About” section, so it took a bit of time to actually find out what she stands for:
“I am running for State Senate District 25 by write-in. District 25 is from the eastern border of Upland west to Burbank. So if you live in Upland north of 10 or west of Upland or know someone that does please write in “Kathleen Hazelton” in the State Senate line and tell your friends to do the same on March 3rd at the polls or before you put your mail-in ballot in the mail or poll box.
I am a conservative/republican and I believe we need to
Take care of our veterns,[sic]
Support marriage and the family,
Ensure that our precious children are protected until birth and after,
Keep our great military strong,
Protect our natural resources and environment, and
Protect our Second Amendment rights, which are cruicial [sic] to preserving all our other freedoms.”
Her position points fall within the general conservative/Republican line of thinking. However, one of the most crucial things facing Californians is the evil effects of the AB5 law. The fact that her platform does not mention the law, nor reflects any position regarding it, does not instill confidence in this voter who has been adversely affected by its institution.
With the Republican party’s lackluster performance in California, it is clear they are providing neither direction nor support. Sorry Kathleen, but if you put this little thought or effort into your write-in candidacy, what are you going to do if you actually make it to the November runoff and have to go toe-to-toe with a career politician?
Who is Evan Wecksell?
The Libertarian Evan Wecksell, on the other hand, has cemented his social media footprint like the blocks at Mann’s Chinese Theater. He has a website, a Facebook page: Evan Wecksell, Candidate for CA State Senate District 25, and a handle on the other two major platforms: Twitter and Instagram.
His “About” section clearly outlines why he is running, and part of that why is music to my ears: The full Repeal of AB5:
“Rather than creating several new shades of lipstick to put on this pig of a bill, the law should be repealed and reintroduced with everything backwards: Employees and/or companies should have the OPTION to petition the state if they want to reclassify. The Dynamex decision should have no part in this.”
What I also appreciate about his campaign presentation is that instead of a generalized description of District 25, his picture lists all the communities that encompass District 25 (see map below).
The devil is in the details, and Evan’s attention to detail captures my attention. What has kept it is that he has gone a step further by making his presence known within the prominent Facebook groups where those affected by AB5 organize. These groups include Freelancers Against AB5 and Freelancers Against the PRO Act.
In full disclosure, Wecksell did reach out to me on Facebook with an invitation to a meet and greet in Pasadena, California. Not only did I promote the invitation among my connections, but I made it a point to attend.
Mr. Wecksell talked about his journey to becoming a write-in candidate, he talked at length about the AB5 law and why it needs to be repealed, as well as a few of his other policy points: such as addressing homelessness, medical choice, government transparency, and pro-2A.
He also acknowledged that his write-in candidacy, like most, is an extreme long shot.
“I think the media would like to hear about a candidate who believes that we would like to have their constitutional rights implemented rather than infringed upon. There’s a lot of robots in Sacramento, and I’m about to short circuit it, big time.”
California District 25 encompasses the cities and communities of Burbank, Sunland-Tujunga, Atwater Village, La Canãda-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, Glendale, Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Bradbury, Duarte, Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont, Upland, and San Antonio Heights. If you reside in the district, and you are unhappy with the one-party rule, know that you have choice.
However, Tuesdays March 3, 2020 primary is the only window for you to make that choice. So if you have not yet voted, Evan Wecksell is primed and ready for the competition.
A smart and strategic write-in vote can change the game and return the elections back into the hands of “We the people” and wrest it from the incumbent-backed special interests.