Sunday, March 2, 2014

CA AD-36: Allegations Against Steve Fox

If the Republican party is still viable in California, it has to pick up assembly, senate, and congressional districts in 2014. The conditions will be as good as it'll get. The mid-term electorate is more favorable to Republicans than the Presidential electorate and there's a Democrat in the White House. If the GOP doesn't pick up districts this year, then it's likely that the Democratic tide is so strong that they'll keep picking up Republican districts every election.

The most vulnerable Democratic district is AD-36 covering Lancaster-Palmdale and part of Kern County. This is a district that every Republican running statewide won in 2010. Tony Strickland lost the Controller's race 55%-36%. He still won this district 45%-39%. Mimi Walters lost the Treasurer's race 56%-36%. She still won this district 44%-42%. Democrat Steve Fox won the district by 145 votes and that was only after picking up 67% of the vote on the final day of po-stelection night counting. No district was closer and none voted more Republican.

Fox, who already had a huge target on his back, got a bigger one. A former campaign staffer and state office aide alleged that Fox forced employees to perform work at his private law practice and his campaign, and didn't pay them minimum wage. Disgruntled ex-employees will say anything. So any allegation should be taken with a presumption of innocence. The problem is that allegations like this, even those that aren't true, dog campaigns and will certainly be used against Fox. Fox claims innocence and said, “Nothing will ever be offered for settlement because I expect to litigate it out and win.”

That's the wrong move. What Fox needs is for the former employee to recant the charges. He doesn't appear to be going that way. Going to court will only keep this story in the public eye. There are three possible outcomes. If the case is still lingering through the election and hasn't been resolved, nothing will refute the allegations. Republicans will be able to use it through election day. If Fox wins after people hear ugly stories for months. the uglier allegations may hurt more than the outcome. That's the best outcome and it isn't a good one. If Fox loses, he could face criminal charges and possible expulsion from the assembly.

Republicans have another bullet in the chamber against the most vulnerable Democrat.

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