When I worked for Bill Halldin in the extremely crowded 2016 Assembly District 6 Primary, the team of James Gallagher, Doug LaMalfa, Frank Bigelow and Jim Nielsen – all partisan Republican officeholders came through with huge endorsements for Bill. Jim Nielsen and Frank Bigelow also followed up their endorsements with $4200 checks and assistance with other checks for Halldin’s campaign.
James Gallagher sent some staff who helped us on a few weekends. We had some of Jim Nielsen and Doug LaMalfa’s staff on a few weekends, with a lot on the final days of the campaign. Frank Bigelow’s staff were amazing, they helped us pretty much every weekend after Frank Bigelow endorsed Bill Halldin.
For this blogger personally, it was an interesting study in professionalism. I have been at the throats of several of the people in LaMalfa and Nielsen’s staff for years, yet here we were working together. This was a welcome change from the blood-letting that the GOP in California no longer has the luxury to do. Those that I worked with in the LaMalfa and Nielsen office were professional, polite and assisted Bill Halldin like a professional would do.
My interactions with those working for James Gallagher were even better. I have no negative history with Gallagher as I decided to support him in his primary, breaking traditional political lines in the North State. They all seemed to know, but more importantly their communication and approach suggested that they cared deeply about their district and people in it. Despite my issues with Gallagher on some internal party politics issues or allegiance issues – it is clear that James is an effective legislator with a clear reason for serving. His staff is a reflection of that.
Frank Bigelow’s staff blew my mind. What a great group of people. They even explained to me a few things about El Dorado County politics from a completely different perspective. (For example, having positive things to say about Vern Pierson) Without meaning a slight to the staff of the other three, the Bigelow Staff were almost 100% committed and assisting Halldin’s campaign and I had a lot of interactions with them. Bigelow’s staff were some of the most real people I’ve worked with from a legislator’s office in the nearly 20 years in the political trenches I’ve logged.
When I had interactions with Nielsen and Bigelow during this campaign, it was clear to me they were both trying to figure me out. They both made a lot of eye contact when we were chatting at a fundraiser event for Bill. I usually do not try to hide my feelings about anyone, and I will say that I have come from being hostile towards Nielsen to liking him.
Regarding Frank Bigelow, I did not support him when he ran against Rico Oller. Frank is not as conservative as I’d like him to be. However, it is clear to me that Bigelow is a “real dude”. I can forgive a lot of squishyness when I deal with a real dude. Bigelow’s character is clear as reflected in his staff. In most all cases a legislator’s staff is a reflection of the member. It was good to be able to get to know Mr. Bigelow a bit more. I hope that Bigelow, Nielsen and others would choose to start funding voter registration and other efforts as the dems are overrunning this state.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank the above four for helping Bill Halldin and I’d also like to thank the staff members I got to meet and work with. It was a great experience, here’s hoping that we cross paths on the same side again soon.
Footnote: Kevin Kiley won that primary and ultimately won the general election. The above four did indeed raise money and help Mr. Kiley in the fall as any good team players would do.