Friday, February 03, 2006

More on Machado's Endorsement of Filson

Hank Shaw of the Stockton Record has an article today that sheds some light on state Senator Mike Machado’s endorsement of Steve Filson.  Interestingly, it looks like Machado had been actively trying to recruit Ann Johnston, a former City Councilwoman from Stockton to run.  It was only after she declined to run that Machado endorsed Steve Filson.

Here’s the meat from the article:

SACRAMENTO - State Sen. Michael Machado officially closed the door on a challenge to U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo on Thursday by endorsing Danville airline pilot Steve Filson in the 11th Congressional District Democratic primary.But Machado only endorsed Filson after failing to enlist former Stockton City Councilwoman Ann Johnston.


Machado said Thursday that Filson is the right man to defeat Pombo."People are looking for a change in Washington, and Steve Filson is committed to helping to make this change," Machado said. "Steve understands the needs of the 11th Congressional District and will work hard in Washington to keep the doors of government open."


Machado aide Jody Fujii said her boss was among those who tried to recruit Johnston because many in San Joaquin County wanted a local candidate."She was somebody with a local Valley connection and a proven track record," Fujii said.

Fujii said she did not know how much Machado will campaign for Filson.

I think it’s worth noting that this article does not provide any insight into how vociferous Machado is going to be in his support for Filson.  He certainly provided a good quote, but it seems that it is very general and abstract.  Furthermore, the quote from Jody Fujii about Johnston seems to mitigate against Machado’s support for Filson.  Putting that together with the last line certainly keeps me wondering how much enthusiasm Machado feels for Filson.  And the fact that I’m left wondering, probably says something.        

On a different topic, the article quotes a former Machado aide, Robert Kellar, as Steve Filson’s campaign manager. I have never heard of Kellar before, but I do want to apologize for saying that Lisa Tucker was Filson’s campaign manager.  Looking at the FEC reports, it’s clear that Tucker has been consulting for Filson.  But it now appears that the he has an official campaign manager, and it’s not Tucker.  Note, I did not see any disbursements to Kellar, so this might be a new development.  In any event, I’ll keep you posted.  If anyone knows anything about this, feel free to send me an e-mail or post something in the comments section.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, I know you are not a reporter so this might seem strange to you, but you should check your story before you write it.

In fact if you were to call Senator Machado or a senior member of his staff, as people I have spoken with have, he would tell you that he did not ask Johnston to run and the article you site in fact does not say he did, unless you assume "local pols" means only Machado.

It's odd that a strong liberal like you, who would normally question everything a conservative paper like the Stockton Record prints, takes Hank Shaw's article as gospel. Do you call and ask him if his editors cut the article?

But sitting up there in Berkeley, which is not in the district by the way, must make it difficult to pick a phone.

4:48 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me apologize for my last post. The article does say Machado "failed to enlist" Johnston.

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong, although I might be one of the few to admit it when I am.

The rest of my post stands however. The article is inaccurate, as calls to Machado would explain.

4:53 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous mr g said...

Unless Mr. Filson plans to spend copious amounts of time pounding the pavement , planning some photo ops and speaking engagements or he is going to have a difficult time getting elected. One clue, the teachers in Stockton Unified School District are preparing to strike. He could coordinate with STA to appear at a march or rally in support of the teachers. Blogging the bullshit the Record prints in Daily Kos in his name would help too.

5:59 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


I'm not a reporter although I do some reporting.

I am happy to call Machado's office, but it never occurred to me that anyone at his office would take my calls or answer my questions. Certainly, my experience calling the DCCC was less than empowering.

But your point is well taken.

That said, I feel less obligated to check one of my posts about a news article. I mean, the reporters and editors are paid to do their thing. They've been trained. I'm just a lowly blogger, as everyone is quick to throw in my face whenever I say something they don't like.

Furthermore, I want everyone to appreciate that I do have a life outside of the confines of Say No to Pombo. So any help at fact-checking would be appreciated.

Lastly, can we stop with the cheap shots about where I live? I know I'm not in the district. I never make any bones about it. I'm hoping Say No to Pombo encourages some blogs in CA-11.

I've been helping Brian a bit with his CA-11 blog. When I get more time, I plan on helping him a bit more.

Anyone who wants help setting up a blog is welcome to contact me. But until such a time, I think I'm providing a useful, if imperfect, service to the residents of your district.

6:41 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt I apologize for the cheapshot about not living in the district. It just seems like you to a very cyncial view of the story. For example, if the Machado endorsement, as the Record explains it, makes Filson look weak, how does it make McNerney look? In addition, why aren't you looking at what McNerney campaign manager said. What do you mean you never pursued that "lead." Number one that is bullshit, as McNerney has tried on numerous occassions to get Machado's support. And lets be fair to Machado here, there is no one else who has worked harder to get from the bottom to the top than he has, he lost his first election for petes sake. For the McNerney camp to disregard and disrespect that should give his supporters pause. Who does he plan to work with if he ever wins elected office, himself? Remember, Congress is not a body of one.

The post also got me wired because as a Valley resident, as most of the 11th CD is, I know how screwed up the Record is and how they have distorted stories in the past. Many of the people involved in politics in the valley know each other, myself included, and we know (I have spoken to a few others after the story came out) that Machado never approached Johnston.

I think Mr. G is on to something. Why don't you email Filson and let him know what you think. He might be interested as he is the only union member in the race.

Enjoy the SuperBowl!

8:09 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


I think you omitted a couple of key words in your last post, but I think I got the gist of it.

In any event, I don't think Machado's endorsement makes Filson look weak (and it most certainly is not positive for McNerney). But it does underscore a point VPO has been making. Namely, the Democratic bench in San Joaquin County is relatively shallow. It also lends some more weight to VPO's concern that it'll be hard for anyone from outside of San Joaquin County to oust Pombo. It appears from the article that Machado had that concern too, but you are saying (if I understand you) that most of the article is bogus.

The main topic I was looking at when I posted this was whether Machado is really looking to help Filson, or whether he is being somewhat dutiful in making this endorsement. As I mentioned before, it's pretty clear that Machado didn't like McNerney, so it makes sense that Machado would endorse Filson (especially when Filson has the support from the electeds that he does). But Machado's endorsement, as such, is very different from the full force Machado could bring to bear in support of Filson. I read this article as suggesting that Machado isn't going to work that hard to get Filson elected. But I'm open to hearing more from different sources about what's on the horizon.

I can believe that McNerney's side wasn't really expecting Machado's endorsement given what I've said above, although I find it hard to believe they didn't even make an attempt to get it. But more to the point, I know McNerney's team has been (at least in public) downplaying their reliance on the endorsement of electeds. I mean, once Zoe Lofgren and Tom Torlakson endorsed Filson, the writing was on the wall. And since Machado didn't even bother to endorse McNerney last time, they couldn't have invested too much hoping he'd endorse this time around.

I don't think acknowleding any of this disrespects Machado, as you seem to think it might. Although, admittedly, I know next to nothing about Machado except for what happened in 2002. To be honest, I don't know hardly anything about Central Valley politics. I went out to Tracy the other week specifically to start making some connections in your neck of the woods. But I haven't got the feeling that Machado is a real supporter of the grassroots. If I'm wrong, enlighten me.

Also I'm curious about how such a story could be published in the SR if it didn't even have some basis in fact. If Machado didn't approach Johnston, did anyone who might reasonably be considered a surrogate of Machado or someone otherwise close to him approach Johnston? I mean, what about this part of the article:

Machado aide Jody Fujii said her boss was among those who tried to recruit Johnston because many in San Joaquin County wanted a local candidate.

Is Jody Fujii full of it? Is it Hank Shaw? And if it's Hank Shaw, why should I believe that an anonymous commenter on my blog knows better? Who should I contact to investigate?

Lastly, I'm wondering about your comment re: Mr. G. Steve Thomas (the guy we rarely talk about here) is a union member (IBEW). Indeed, it's his only base of support. But also, Jerry McNerney is a supporter of unions, and in fact just walked in a picket line last week for the workers at Berkeley Honda. I mean, I'm sure Steve Filson would also be interested in this as well. By why the cynicism re: McNerney?

8:41 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Oh, I'm not going to watch the Superbowl. I had two meetings scheduled for Sunday, but it looks like it's down to one. Still, it's not the same when I'm not watching football with my brothers and I won't be around them this year. Maybe next year.

8:43 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Is the Anon poster above implying that Machado really, really wanted to endorse Filson and never considered Johnston or other local candidates? I find that very hard to believe. Anyone with a clue would see that someone experienced and known in the Valley would make a better candidate than Filson or McNerney. Ann Johnston was on the Stockton city council for 8 years. She ran for mayor and she is active in many civic organizations, as well as owns her own business in town.

I find it arguing semantics as to whether Machado actually called her directly on it or not (whatever "approached" means in this case), but I find it very likely that Machado would have preferred her to Filson.

Is the poster above saying that Machado's endorsement of Filson was a strong embrace and not a tepid "I guess he'll do"? The poster seems to have the inside info on this -- so is Machado going to be pounding the pavement for Filson now? Is Machado gung-ho on Filson and really believes he is "the one"? Personally, I kind of doubt it, but I don't have the inside track like the above poster.

We are left with the same thesis I have been saying all along -- Filson is inexperienced, unknown, and has no record of service and no credibility in the Valley. Those are the facts. I don't see people getting all that excited about him -- the 4Q dollars certainly shows this.

So I want to ask the pro-Filson posters -- how do you see him winning? Do you really think that he can sway enough Central Valley voters to beat Pombo? If you think that, under what possible scenarios would this happen? Remember Pombo has almost a million dollars, and Filson one-tenth of that. And that fundraising gap will only grow as the election nears, unless maybe if some multi-millionaire steps in to help Filson.

Those are the questions I have in my mind, no matter who endorses him or how strongly or weakly they do that. I just can't see any possible way he can win, barring a Pombo indictment, but I would be very glad to hear arguments that aim to convince me otherwise.

9:04 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insiders in the valley are many, the politics out here are very iincestuous. Everyone knows everyone and we know who has been talking to who. VPO you are just incorrect in your assertion Machado would have preferred Johnston. Watching Machado out here for many years we can tell you he wanted a fighter (Filson and Machado are Navy veterans, see the Dennis Wyatt op-ed in the Manteca Bulletin after the '04 election) and a moderate.

Matt I understand why you are questioning if Machado will really work for Filson, but we have to take a wait and see approach. But isn't it disturbing to you that the McNerney campaign seems so cavalier about elected's endorsements? They are important for a reason. People have already voted and supported these people, so they like them. Is the McNerney camp saying that voters previous trips to the ballot box were unimportant or even wrong. When voters see endorsements, it is a huge factor for that voter. If you don't agree, what do you think an Al Gore or Bill Clinton endorsement would do for McNerney or Filson? Would make a difference right?

Matt and VPO are both right, the bench out here in the valley is shallow, almost non-existent.

I can't tell VPO exactly how Filson will win, but lets step back to political reality here for a second. Because of California law, political parties here have been nudered. Therefore it is almost impossible for grassroots organizations, party or not, to grow, raise money, etc. You may not want to believe it, but that's the way it is. Add to this the extremely high cost of media advertising in California. What develops then is high cost elections that are candidate centered, not movement or grassroots centered. We may hate it, but that is the way it is. If more of the grassroots people understood this and worked to change the law the more success they would have. I'm right there with them.

So, how can Filson beat Pombo? I don't know. I do know it will take a great deal of money, primarily because of the reason cited above. But VPO, under your thinking, no one can beat Pombo, even more so if McNerney wins the primary.

I do think a candidate can win this year if they make an effort to reach out to voters, not talk down to them. I believe, as a valley resident, that a democratic candidate who asks me for my vote will get it, but not the candidate who insists on telling me how bad I have been living my life. I believe that a candidate can win if they address our everyday concerns instead of trying to interact with me as an academic exercise. If you don't believe McNerney acts exactly like this talk to someone who is a moderate democrat who doesn't volunteer, as they are the majority by far. They will tell you they can't connect with someone like McNerney, especially if you have people posting, walking, or phoning, like Nicholas, who don't have any connection to reality and, at least from what I have read, can't tell the truth. I like to think of myself as an activist, but I can also be honest with myself and understand that the vast majority of people don't think like me and therefore I have to communicate with them, they don't have to communicate with me.

Pombo can be beat because everyone thinks he can't lose! Arrogance is the greatest weakness in politics. I do think blogs like this can help Democrats discuss what is important in the district and figure out a way to talk with people. Then we win.

I guess Steve Thomas is a good guy, but is he even still in the mix? Come on!

9:48 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...


10:11 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Good comments, Anon, thanks for posting that. I think the bottom line is that, for better or worse, Filson is running and the others are not. So all the efforts need to be focused on beating Pombo, not wishing other candidates were running.

At least Machado's endorsement makes it clear HE is not running, and most likely no one else will step in at this late date either.

Let's see what happens over the next couple of months, with several candidate debates and more endorsements coming.

10:18 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

how telling is it that one has to resort to personal character attacks to make a point?

"same as it ever was.....same as it ever was...".



10:32 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicholas, you want the attacks to stop, don't post obvious crap like "McNerney has no debt."

If you think that is not a lie, and I am personally attacking you for it, too bad. I can't help ya brother.

10:45 PM, February 03, 2006  
Blogger Mike Bird said...

Much a do about nothing, that's how Machado's support translates.

Who on SNTP Blog would recognize Mike Machado if he walked past them. How many voters know which office he holds, or even which party he belongs too?

"Republicans win elections because their opponents are Democrats," so says Joe Scarbourgh, former Florida Congressman and TV host.

The national Democratic Establishment has blundered again..
If their misplaced efforts here in CD 11 are successful, Pombo will be re-elected.

Pombo returns to Congress each election because voters in the middle view him as INDEPENDENT of the Washington Establishment.

Political idealology aside,
McNerney and Pombo share similar qualities. Both can be veiwed as INDEPENDENT leaders, free of conventional party wisdom.

McNerney can WIN if he convinces voters he is the true "INDEPENDENT", and that his opponent has been corrupted by power.

Mike Bird is a freind/volunteer for Jerry McNerney.

11:57 PM, February 03, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

Hammer away buddy...

I tried to share information with the best of my knowledge. Ya want me to say I was wrong? Aight..I was wrong.

Does that mean I lied? Nope. Because, as info was presented to me the monies were placed into a ledger (not associated with services rendered) and thus weren't considered debt. But, it debt...and I'll call it debt from now on too..But the money is still there to be spent on the campaign. And the money available to spend aint a whole lot more then the money raised by a DCCC backed candidate. So lets give praise to both candidates...both candidates are figuring out what it takes to raise money.

Now, how about you stopping with the hyperbole? Your notion that moderates wont buy into McNerney's vision has no foundation in truth. Why? Example A. My stepmother. She voted for Bush Sr. Wouldn't tell me who she voted for during the whole Bush Sr/ Clinton race but recently told me she hates Pombo. And guess what? She is strongly considering voting for McNerney. Even though she leans conservative. So unless you have polls that prove your grandstanding is valid. Quit with the hyperbole.

Wanna know something else? I voted for Pombo. Yes..yes I did. In 92....I'm your typical moderate swing voter just like my step-mother. And most of the folks I know are the same way. And we have never been involved in politics...Well, that is until Jerry came along. There's just something about that Jerry that makes one feel they can trust him.

So while you slam the host of this blog for living in Berkeley..while you're busy saying I'm out of touch with reality...I'm out there introducing Jerry to my hometown. And thus far; folks (from republicans to independents) are liking what they hear.

They appreciate the fact that Jerry actually articulates a vision for this district. And they respect his proven courage, his proven integrity and his proven commitment to our future.

So, keep on playing arm-chair pundit. And keep on offending members of our lil ole community... like myself. If that's how you want to contribute to this discussion..and if that's what makes you feel better about yourself.... keep on rockin!!!

but in the end..remember: its all about getting rid of Pombo!!!

Peace!!Love & Chicken Grease!!

12:01 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicholas, your right about one thing, in the end this just banter but we both want an end to Pombo.

But I disagree. I don't think McNerney articulates a vision, he wants to talk about "issues". Won't work. Never has.

Hey, Bird, if you think any moderate or swing voter is going to think of McNerney as independant after the Pombo media blitz than just go ahead and keep buying lottery tickets, you'll have better luck. Actually Pombo won't need a media blitz because the view of McNerney as a left winger is already well preserved in the body politic.

12:10 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way Nicholas, the whole Jerry is God thing won't last. Stop praying to the man, it makes you look nuts! I know you are better than that.

12:12 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Check your watches and say your prayers folks. Say No to Pombo is having a lively political debate at 12:15 AM on a Saturday morning. The end is near.

On a serious note, Anon, do you think you can choose a handle/pseudonym. It's not that hard. And it would help if we could figure out when it's you and not some other snarky, dyspeptic political-type from the Central Valley.

12:20 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt, don't use the big words on us simple people.

Besides, what makes you think I am bad mannered or acidic?

12:30 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger Mike Bird said...

Dear Anonymous

You have a loud Bark!

Are you a Little Dog or Big Dog?

Reveal yourself.

Whether your candidate or mine wins in June, they both must face a Pombo Media Blitz.

Please give examples of Jerry being a "left winger" and how is it the CD 11 'Body politic' shares that same view.

12:41 AM, February 04, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


I'm not answering any questions until you figure out a name for yourself. Stop using the default Anonymous setting. You don't have to use your real name, but you need to choose something.

Directions are here. Use them.

12:51 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

mornin all!!

Jerry is God? I love it....Look folks, its SNTP's first troll.

Look anon7ofnine, in order for Pombo to be able to label McNerney as a left wing nut he is going to need some time of evidence to support it. Right now, he doesn't have any. You claim McNerney's policies are empty academic statements..So how in the world is Pombo going to be able to use empty academic statements to portray McNerney as an extreme liberal? AnonFilson, SHOW US THE MONEY!!! Proof. Plain and simple. Either show it or chill with the empty rhetoric.

Now, once again I want to point out that the Valley hasn't seen a community based retail campaign in my lifetime. The political system within Stockton is an insular one. There is very little outreach. That explains why when Jerry & I attended a Baptist Church Community Forum many folks admitted never meeting anyone that was running for Congress. (I asked because I knew the answer I would recieve.)

Hey, isnt the African American community supposed to be part of the Democratic base? You say your a part of the political establishment Mr. anonformerlyknownasanon. If you are, you should know how ineffective our local party has been in the past. But thats all changing. David Burr, Dick Archibold, Stella Lopez and Bill Casey are doing wonders organizing our community But we got to win an election this year and without an organized Democratic base we are going to need someone who has proven they can inspire and motivate individuals to want to vote for them...and not just against Pombo.

All the McNerney campaign has to do is provide Jerry with as many opportunities to inspire and motivate folks. That's not a God complex....that's smart politics.

The key for the McNerney campaign is to run a well organized community based machine. In fact, we are taking inspiration from Karl Rove. Because Rove proved that calling folks "extreme" doesn't hold weight when people actually connect to a politicians character. And like Bush, McNerney is a likeable guy. And guess what...Pombo isn't.

So McNerney gets out their and meets the community and the campaign educates voters on Pombo's failed years in Congress all the while introducing them to McNerney's vision. Its an easy choice folks. Positive with a plan for the future (McNerney) vs. negative with failed policies (Pombo). I've waited thirteen years to apologize for voting for Pombo as a dumb 18 year old. In that time, not a single congressional candidate running against Pombo spoke to me. Not a single candidate made any realistic effort to win our community over. That is until McNerney came along.

6:28 AM, February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Filson's campaign manager. I was wondering who and by chance I ran into a little birdie from the valley who knew. To put it gentely he was "dismissed" as the campaing manager from a neighboring Dem CD's race.

11:42 PM, February 04, 2006  

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