South Bay residents have been inundated with mailers from the Muratsuchi and Hadley campaigns and political action committees.
By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo
A cockroach skulks across a cookie. It’s an unusually creepy opening for a television political ad, but the race for the 66th State Assembly District is anything but usual.
Behind the ad, which alludes to the Miramonte schoolteacher convicted in 2012 of child molestation, are big money supporters of Assemblymember David Hadley of Manhattan Beach. Fighting back, a recent ad featured Gov. Jerry Brown in support of former Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, stating, “Don’t believe what you’ve heard. David Hadley will say anything…”
Mud-slinging emanating from both sides in this race has begun to mirror the tone if not the intensity of the presidential campaign. Political action committees trying to stop Hadley’s re-election have tried to align him with Donald Trump. Yet, Hadley insists that although he is a Republican, he is not voting for Trump.
At stake in the 66th District campaign is the Democrats’ super majority in the State Legislature. California is one of only seven states where the governor and the majority of legislators are Democrats. Without Muratsuchi, the Democrats do not have a two-thirds majority and cannot pass certain kinds of bills unless they can secure bipartisan support.
In 23 other states, Republicans control both the legislature and the governor’s office. Republicans do not hold a single statewide office here.
A mailer from the California Democratic Party criticizes an anti-Muratsuchi attack ad.
Since the June primary, Hadley has engaged in a well-financed rematch with Muratsuchi, a Democrat who held the Assembly seat from 2012 to 2014.
Japanese Americans who previously have served in the State Legislature include George Nakano, a three-term assemblyman representing the South Bay from 1998 to 2004, and Warren Furutani, who served three terms in the Assembly beginning in 2008. Furutani is currently running in the 35th District State Senate race.
Statistically, Muratsuchi should have an edge over Hadley, having won the primary in a district that is 40 percent Democratic and 32 percent Republican. The 66th Assembly District includes the largest concentration of Japanese Americans outside of Hawaii, fueling hopes that a Japanese American could once again represent the South Bay.
During the past four years, approximately 3,287 donors, including Japanese American supporters, have contributed a total of $6,536,537 to Muratsuchi.
Nearly $1 million of that is being contributed by Democratic committees in Northern and Central California, plus additional monies coming from numerous labor unions, lawyers associations, and lobbyists.
Mailers attacking Hadley have been issued by the People for Better Government Committee, an L.A.-based political action committee of the San Manuel Band of Missions, and the California Democratic Party.
Detail of an anti-Muratsuchi mailer from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Meanwhile, Muratsuchi has also received high-profile endorsements from President Obama, Gov. Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Asian Americans who hold statewide offices, including State Treasurer John Chiang.
Hadley has raised a total of $3,645,810 for the elections in 2014 and 2016. In addition to Spirit of Democracy, a political action committee (PAC) funded largely by Republican donor Charles F. Munger, Jr., Hadley’s supporters include Howard F. Ahmanson/Fieldstead & Company of Irvine, South Bay Residents for Better Schools and Jobs, and Bill Bloomfield.
Based on a complaint by Muratsuchi to the Fair Political Practices Commission, Hadley was accused of illegally coordinating with a consultant Steve Presson. On Oct. 26, Hadley turned over documents related to the investigation, and a scheduled Nov. 4 court appearance was cancelled.