Eerie similarities in Pruett and Tanner races in neighboring Placer and Nevada counties

You won’t see the local media collaborating on this one, but there are some eerie similarities in the political races that pit challengers Barry Pruett and Casey Tanner against incumbents for supposedly nonpartisan posts in Nevada and Placer counties.

Some longtime politicos in both counties see this as an attempt by the GOP, largely the “far right” wing, to wield more influence in local politics. They see it as a vestige of the “Doolittle political machine,” whose successor is also the very conservative Tom McClintock. Tom is trying to establish more of a foothold in Nevada County, where he lost to challenger Charlie Brown.

In the case of Pruett and Tanner:

•Both are using the same bulk postage permit out of Roseville — No. 833 — for negative mailers against the incumbents, I confirmed on Friday. (You see, I have friends in both counties who’ve received the mailers). The bulk permit is held by the printer. Just a happy coincidence? You can decide.

Tanner is running against incumbent Kathy Martinis in Placer County for county auditor, while Pruett is running against Gregory Diaz for clerk-recorder. Both are decidedly nonpartisan posts, with incumbents who are highly experienced in their jobs.

•Sierra College Trustee Aaron Klein, of all people, is endorsing both Pruett and Tanner, as I reported previously. Details are here. Aaron concedes that he has never met or does not know Martinis or Diaz, but he is endorsing the opponent anyway. He’s a big GOPer.

As for experience, Tanner received his certified public accountant license less than a year ago. His license’s “G” designation means he can’t sign audit reports yet.

As for Aaron, he is free to endorse whomever he wants, but I’d stick to my knitting if I were a Sierra College Trustee, with all that’s going on at the school. To me, it shows he has further political aspirations, though he has downplayed that in the past.

•Both Pruett and Tanner are endorsed by GOPers, including ones who lean to the “far right.” The Republican Party of Placer County has endorsed Tanner. The Nevada County Republican Council has endorsed Pruett.

•The people work directly with the incumbents typically are supporting them. For example, Supervisor and Board Chairman Nate Beason, a Republican, is endorsing Diaz. All five Placer County supervisors are endorsing Martinis.

Longtime politicos whom I’ve talked to in both counties believe this is an effort by “far right” Republicans to wield more political influence around here, as well as try to groom a generation of new GOP leaders.

Many of them look up to our Congressman Tom McClintock, a hard-line Republican. (Pruett’s spouse, Kim, is a McClintock staffer). This schism has upset many moderate Republicans, who really see the posts as nonpartisan. They also worry about discouraging qualified candidates from not running because of small-town politics.

I should also point out that just writing about this has made me a target of some venomous personal attacks, though I’m not running for any office.

Many of the anonymous derogatory comments directed toward me on the Internet focus on my observations about the Pruett-Diaz race, Klein’s involvement, as well as the local media’s reluctance to “dig deeper” on any of the races. It also focuses on my criticism of very conservative bloggers Russ Steele and George Rebane, who are the local cheerleaders for the “far right.”

As I’ve said before, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” What if I tried to write a column like this for The Union under its current management?

The outcome of both races in neighboring counties is being closely watched by political pundits who seem them as far more than just a race for auditor or clerk-recorder.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

6 thoughts on “Eerie similarities in Pruett and Tanner races in neighboring Placer and Nevada counties”

  1. Jeff,
    Your mission, as yor’ve decided to accept it, is far greater than writing for The Union. Your Blog holds great value in Nevada County as an alternative to the pap spewed over on that other paper.

  2. Even though Nevada County’s financial issues stand out; Placer County is in even worse shape. You would thing that a Sierra County trustee would know the county auditor . . . I’m not sure what to make of that one . . . but there are times where elected officials need to work with each other and both have been in office several years. That said, Tanner does is not qualified.

  3. A bit after the last election I recall reading somewhere that all of the CD04 repubs were in town for a public meeting/photo-op. The story went on to state the public show was cover for the real pupose of all of the being in town was to get together to work out who was going to run for which office in the next election (some were/are to be termed out). Put that with your information and it does appear to paint a the picture you have painted.

    THREATS….well, when I was blogging from the DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION through election night at THE UNION, I started getting some nasty messages/comments and one very specific comment that ZURI BERRY (formerly of The Union) got involved in due to the nature of the communication (Threat/Warning) as it was on a UNION blog post. Interesting that the event I refer to was, well………., let’s just say I certainly did not vote for the person when I mailed in my absentee ballot in a couple of days ago.

  4. There are eerie similarities here.

    Klein, Tanner and Pruett remind me of Barack Obama – young reformers with no experience, and a very aggressive change agenda.

    We see what that has brought to our beloved country. Let’s stick with the status quo in this next election and tell these young whippersnappers to “keep the change.”

  5. This surely seems in accord with what is being reported throughout the country. And it is not an uncommon campaign strategy. Coming from my own bit of experience in the area of recruiting candidates for endorsement by one of the 2 major parties, we look to candidates interested in local non-partisan offices such as school districts, special districts, city councils, etc. as that is where candidates for major political offices start. The Tea Party are just following accepted campaign tactics used by major parties (or perhaps they are part of a major party but don’t wish to be seen as such). And it must be said, it seems to be working for them, as with Scott Brown and Rand Paul, who owe their success largely to the fact that they were not seen as part of the political establishment but came out of the grassroots. Economically, the U S is still in hard times with jobs, and it is logical that it should be an anti-incumbent time politically. However, not every small county or town political wannabee is a Brown or Paul.

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