In District 1 Senate race, it’s all in the name
October 24, 2008
This political season is full of candidates challenging each others’ positions, but in one California Senate race, a candidate is challenging whether the incumbent he faces even exists.
The Senate race for District 1 – which includes the California side of Lake Tahoe – pits Democratic challenger Anselmo Chavez against Republican incumbent Dave Cox.
In September, Chavez filed a complaint in Sacramento County Superior Court claiming Cox incorrectly filed his Declaration of Candidacy during the June 3 Republican primary.
Because Cox wrote his name on the declaration as “Dave Cox” rather than his legal name of “David E. Cox,” Chavez contends Cox’s declaration was improperly completed and his candidacy should be invalidated.
“He is not legally a state senator or a candidate for state Senate,” Chavez said Friday.
It is a strategy the 76-year-old veteran and father of seven – who recently moved to Fair Oaks – has employed before.
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According to an article in the Union Democrat, Chavez – when running for Democratic candidate positions in the 2002 California gubernatorial primary against Gray Davis and in the 2006 New Mexico gubernatorial primary against Bill Richardson – claimed in court that his competitors’ victories should be overturned because they did not use their legal names on voter registrations.
Chavez also ran for the California State Senate’s 15th District seat in 2000. The 15th District stretches along the California coast from Santa Maria to Santa Cruz.
When asked why he decided to run for the 1st District seat, Chavez responded, “It happened to be there, and since there’s no one running, I thought I’d just get in it.”
In answering Chavez’s claims, Cox said he has been going by “Dave” for “the past 30 years” and pointed to a recent ruling that dismissed Chavez’s complaint regarding the primary election.
“Mr. Chavez moved into the 1st Senate District and rented an apartment and is running for the 1st Senate but has no connection to the 1st Senate District that we can find,” Cox said, noting that he never has met Chavez.
On Oct. 16, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley dismissed Chavez’s claims for several reasons, including failing to “allege facts sufficient to state a case against Sen. Cox for violating the penal provisions of the Elections Code,” according to court documents.
Not easily dissuaded, Chavez said he plans to file more complaints to challenge the legality of Cox’s candidacy.
When asked if there were Tahoe-specific issues he felt were important, Chavez said he is focusing on “the big picture,” and “minor issues” were not an immediate priority.
Chavez lists education, appropriate funding of state programs for the poor and elderly, and Proposition 13 reform among his legislative priorities on Project Vote Smart’s Web site (www.votesmart.org).
Proposition 13 established a cap on property-tax rates in the state when passed by voters in 1978.
By periodically reassessing commercial and industrial properties at market value, the state could immediately add an additional $7 billion to $10 billion in annual revenue, according to a statement from Chavez on the Vote Smart Web site.
Improving rural access to medical care, preventing wildfires and protecting consumers during the mortgage crisis are among the legislative priorities listed in Cox campaign documents.