Shop Talk: Thar She Blows

Posted September 24, 2008 at 6:42pm

This is the final installment of Shop Talk until after Election Day.

Former Congressman and ex-California Senate President Pro Tem John Burton is preparing to run for chairman of the California Democratic Party.

[IMGCAP(1)]The colorful and sometimes excitable ex-lawmaker has been out of official politics since 2004, when he was termed out of the state Senate. But this week he told the Los Angeles Times that Sen. Barbara Boxer and other top California Democrats are encouraging him to run to succeed state Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres.

“I’m probably going to do it,” Burton said.

Burton, of San Francisco, is the brother of the late Rep. Phil Burton (D-Calif.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) political mentor.

Pelosi holds California’s San Francisco-area 8th district. Pelosi first won the seat in a 1987 special election to replace the late Rep. Sala Burton (D), who had replaced her husband, Phil, after he died.

Sheudenfreud. Rachael Seidenschnur has left her position as campaign press secretary to former Wyoming Treasurer Cynthia Lummis (R).

Lummis is running for her state’s at-large House seat against Internet entrepreneur Gary Trauner (D). Seidenschnur left her job as Lummis’ press secretary this week after it was discovered that she gained access to a Trauner campaign conference call and — posing as a Trauner supporter — asked the Democratic candidate a question about Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The Associated Press, which first reported the incident, was told by Lummis that she did not ask Seidenschnur to call into the teleconference, let alone pose as a Trauner supporter.

Seidenschnur told the AP that the conference call was a public news conference and that asking about Pelosi and offshore drilling, which was her intent, was totally within bounds. She denied trying to pose as a Trauner supporter, although the AP has a recording of the conference call and the only caller who asked about Pelosi and energy policy identified herself as a Trauner supporter named Sierra.

“I was curious about getting information to people about the Pelosi question,” Seidenschnur said. “And it’s a public thing. And I was curious. I wanted folks to know. I think that was a fair question. I wasn’t in any way, you know, derogatory.”

Lummis insisted that Seidenschnur was not fired and left the campaign on her own, citing a concern that her actions would reflect poorly on the former state treasurer.

Trauner pounced on the incident, telling the AP: “I think deceit and deception are not Wyoming values.”

Little Women. Three political heavyweights, all of them women, are set to convene at a seminar next week to offer women advice on running for office.

The headliners include Susan Markham, deputy political director of EMILY’s List; Jessica Grounds, president of the political action committee Women Under Forty; and Erin Cutraro, director of Politics and Education for the Women’s Campaign Forum.

The event on Tuesday is part of the nine-part “Path to Politics” seminar designed to advise women on how to get involved and run for office.

Si Se Puede. An effort to mobilize Hispanic voters that is being called the largest campaign of its kind by organizers is set to launch today.

The campaign is called “ya es hora, !ve y Vota!” (It’s time, Go Vote!) and is being organized by Entravision Communications Corp., impreMedia, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, National Council of La Raza and Univision Communications Inc.

Their plan is to distribute around 1 million voter registration cards to unregistered Hispanics in seven states. The campaign is set to be advertised on Spanish-language television and radio by Entravision and Univision.

The organizers of this effort previously helped encourage 1.4 million legal residents to apply for U.S. citizenship.

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