Vida en el Valle
August 05, 2003 - Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante disappointed his supporters when determined that he would not challenge the ruling by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley that a recall election of Gov. Gray Davis had to include a list of replacement candidates. Two weeks ago, Bustamante had hinted that he would abide by a yes or no vote on Davis, meaning that the Dinuba, Ca. native could automatically become governor if Davis loses the recall vote.
However, Bustamante announced on July 24 that an Oct. 7 recall would include a list of candidates. Bustamante has been among a number of high-profile Democrats who have said they will not put their name on the ballot. That show of support, however, could burn the Democrats and give the Republicans the governor’s seat.
In all fairness to voters, the Democrats should get together and agree that Bustamante is the only Democrat that should be placed on the recall ballot. As things stand now, Davis could get the support of 49.9999 percent of the votes but lose. The Republicans, who apparently will have more than one candidate, could take the governor’s seat with a minority percentage of the vote.
Here is why Bustamante should be placed on the ballot: as lieutenant governor, he is the successor to Davis should the governor’s seat become vacant. Although the recall language is vague, it makes sense that Bustamante step up to take the governor’s place in a successful recall. Rather than make that argument in the courts, Bustamante has graciously stepped aside to let voters make the decision.
Secondly, Democratic voters will be shut out from casting their vote on the second part of the recall vote. Because Davis can’t put his name as a replacement candidate, and if no Democrat puts his/her name on the ballot, Democratic voters won’t have a choice for a replacement should Davis get kicked out of office.
If Bustamante’s name is placed on the recall ballot, he would not campaign against Davis. He would merely be there as a safeguard for Democrats.
Sound confusing? That’s the politics of today.
(Editors Note: On Wednesday evening August 6, 2003 Cruz Bustamante filed papers to run for the governorship of California.)