Big slobber sound

Big Mama McClatchy is lecturing us on doing our due diligence as citizens to prepare to vote in the June primary. Mama warns us against all the campaign flak that will be coming at us and urges us to consider carefully the serious issues facing us and to be sure to learn what each candidate's position is on these vital questions of the day.
Since we can't trust anything the candidates will be telling us on TV, in mailers, newspaper ads and on billboards, let alone in person, our minds automatically turn to Big Mama's stable of sage political analysts for the truth about what the candidates stand for.
However, we are frustrated now and, Badlands Journal suspects we will remain frustrated with Big Mama's coverage of the candidates in the June primary elections, because all it amounts to is a sports report on the candidates' fund-raising abilities. It's like batting averages in the Cactus League. It is a ridiculous substitute for political journalism. 
Yo, Big Mama, before you start lecturing voters on learning about the issues and how the candidates stand on them, take your own advice -- describe the issues and report how the candidates stand on them. At least quit drooling over all those big campaign media budgets. All we hear right now is a big slobber sound.
Badlands Journal editorial board
Fresno Bee
Start doing research now for June primary
Don't wait until the last minute to learn who's qualified and who isn't...Editorial the June 8 primary, every registered voter in California will have an opportunity to express his or her views on candidates for governor, state propositions and candidates for local nonpartisan posts such as judge, sheriff, county supervisor and city council.Your primary election ballot will be full and you'd better start doing your homework so you can make informed choices. This election is too crucial to wait until the last minute to check out the candidates' qualifications and positions.Voters whose only insights come from the sound bites and mud balls sent out over the air or in last-minute mailers will not appreciate the complexity of the serious issues we face. That can only come with reading and studying candidates' positions and listening to them in longer-format interviews. There is a lot of information out there about the candidates and issues, and voters should go to a variety of sources in preparing for the upcoming election. Election day is the time when voters finally have their say about the direction they want government to go. Don't let the primary election sneak up on you. We want you to vote, but we also want you to understand what you're voting on.Some races are low-key, while others capture media attention because of their importance or the amount of money being spent in those races. Not surprisingly in a primary election, the more interesting races are party battles.In the 19th Congressional District, for example, the Republican campaign to replace outgoing Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, is gaining national attention. GOP candidates include former Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy, state Sen. Jeff Denham of Atwater, former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson and Fresno City Council Member Larry Westerlund. On the Democratic side in the 19th, Les Marsden and Loraine Goodwin have filed to run.There are several other competitive partisan and nonpartisan races throughout the San Joaquin Valley, so we urge you to get up to speed on them.This June primary election also provides a good time for voters to know about two options they have before voting on June 8:First, voters who are not affiliated with a party or with one of the smaller parties have the option to "cross over" to get a Republican or Democratic ballot in the primary. We would guess that most people would ask for the Republican ballot -- at the polling place or on the postcard sent out by the clerk's office -- because that's where the choices are in this election.People can switch their party registration at any time. The deadline to register or reregister for the June primary is May 24. We would suggest that you do it earlier than that -- so you'll get mail, phone calls and maybe even a visit from a candidate or campaigner. And it does make life a little easier for the county election offices.Most important, though, is for voters to learn about the issues and the candidates. Take charge of your government at the ballot box.
Fresno Bee
Congress candidates race to raise funds...Michael Doyle, Bee Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- California congressional candidates scrambled Wednesday to fluff up their fundraising scorecards, on the last day of a closely watched reporting period.
Republican Mike Berryhill, who is challenging Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, blasted out a last-minute e-mail appeal Wednesday afternoon with the slugline "midnight deadline." With the primary election about two months away, Berryhill and other candidates deploy fundraising numbers as a proxy for political muscle.
"We only have a few hours ... until we reach our goal," state Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, declared on his House campaign Facebook page midafternoon Wednesday, one day after declaring that "this is a critical time ... any amount helps!"
Denham is facing former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson, Fresno City Council President Larry Westerlund and former Rep. Richard Pombo for the Republican nomination in the 19th Congressional District.
The three-month fundraising reports covering the period through March 31 are most crucial in closely contested races, such as the race in the 19th District, which stretches from Modesto to Fresno.
Political professionals pore over these reports, which will be made public April 15.
The biggest numbers to watch are how much a candidate raises and how much cash remains available. Consequently, candidates boost their showing through everything from phone calls and e-mail to Facebook appeals.
Denham's stated goal was to collect $10,000 in online contributions by the close of business Wednesday. On March 22, following a more traditional fundraising route, Denham was the beneficiary of a $2,500-a-head Capitol Hill reception sponsored by six GOP House members.
Former Republican Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy, one of three other Republicans in the 19th Congressional District race, was meanwhile scooping up funds at a Madera event Tuesday night.
"I would fully expect Richard Pombo to be in a huge lead in money raised," Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, said Wednesday.
A vocal Pombo supporter, Nunes likened the April 15 fundraising reports to "the first poll" in a race. In particular, Nunes said, "local money is always the most important," because it reflects support from people who can also vote for a candidate and engage in grass-roots campaigning.
Nor does the fundraising ever really stop in an election year, even after one reporting period ends.
Denham, for instance, lists three events in April, including a reception tonight at Fresno's The Elbow Room with former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry, and a wine tasting April 10 at the Turlock Ballroom.
More ambitiously, Nunes has a three-day, $5,000-a-head fundraising event planned for his own political action committee.
Nunes, who is unopposed, organized what he is calling the "Sideways Tour" offering "great weather, wine tasting and more" along the California coast.
Nunes will be able to use the money collected during the June 4-6 event to contribute to other Republican candidates, in time for the next quarterly report.
Rove saw Pombo's 2006 defeat coming...Jim Boren Bee's John Ellis reports in this Political Notebook item that former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove's book, "Courage and Consequence," mentions former Rep. Richard Pombo's defeat four years ago in his 11th Congressional District seat in the North Valley. Pombo, a Tracy Republican, is now running for Rep. George Radanovich's 19th District seat.Rove, who is on a book tour, spoke in Fresno Tuesday at a fundraiser for Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian. Here's part of Ellis' Political Notebook report:
One of the allegations that played a role in Pombo's defeat -- and is now reappearing as he seeks office again -- are his alleged ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Another surrounds a charge that Pombo charged his family's RV vacations to the government.
Pombo contests the charges, but as he tries to defeat three other Republicans in a tough congressional primary, Rove's book brings up the allegations, and then observes: "I knew [Pombo] was in real trouble when I found myself working the crowd at his presidential fund-raiser in Stockton while he hung out backstage."
The entire passage of the book -- which features Pombo and others -- is introduced by saying the "culture of corruption" charge by Democrats is the main reason Republicans lost seats in 2006.