It’s 2010. California’s 5th Assembly District was coming open as Roger Niello was term-limited.
The leading candidate with all the institutional support was Andy Pugno, the author of California’s Proposition 8. He won the primary with 44% of the vote. Suzanne Jones finished a distant third with 12.3% of the vote, despite having no campaign and not raising any money. To this day, everyone involved in that campaign believes that the only reason she did as “well” as she did, was that there were five men and one woman on the GOP Primary ballot. One would think that, as the only woman running, with any kind of a message she would have gotten at least 25%.
Another candidate, Donald Thompson got 17.4% of the vote, likely because his name was so similar to John Smith (a little inside polling humor).
I was never able to capture a Suzanne Jones Sign in 2010. This one was my favorite though
I witnessed Suzanne Jones at two public events during that primary. She was a very poor public speaker at that time, her message was incoherent and unclear. She did however, establish a theme, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result”. She ran for Assembly again in 2016 and did the same things she did in 2010. (More on that in a future installment of this series)
In 2010, before a lot of us really got to know Suzanne Jones, we saw potential. Several years prior, in 2004 the Placer CRA PAC using money from the late Dave Cox, Tim Leslie and several others worked with the local Charter School Movement. We Spent $45,000 taking out two long term liberal democrat incumbents off of the Sierra College Board. We helped elect Aaron Klein and Scott “Tim” Leslie (the Senator’s Son who is still in office to this day). I met the late Joe Scharrer, Kevin Cooper and David Patterson in the years between 2004 and 2010 largely due to the exposure of the campaign to get a Republican majority onto the Sierra College Board.
After the primary of 2010, Dave Patterson and myself had a chat with Joe Scharrer about Suzanne Jones. She lived in Granite Bay (still lives in the same place today), which was smack in the middle of the trustee area of Trevor Sanders. Trevor was an anti-charter school member of the Placer County Office of Education. At the time, there was a literal war over the Charter of the Western Sierra Collegiate Academy (that Dave Patterson helped found).
Lew Uhler (Kirk’s Father) and Suzanne Jones at a Placer CRA Event in 2010 (Note, I was President of the Placer CRA then)
The Rocklin School Board at the time (only extreme left-wing liberal democrat Camille Maben is still on that board) was fighting with the WSCA people. The Rocklin School Board was able to stuff the charter requests because a majority of the Placer County Office of Education Board was anti-charter school.
We (the Placer CRA that I was still President of in 2010), and the Charter School People recruited some candidates for local office. Among them was Linda M. Park (my mother), for Roseville Joint Union High School District, and Suzanne Jones for Placer County Office of Education. Kirk Uhler and pretty much everyone else in Roseville endorsed them both when we asked them for help.
We never asked Ted Gaines nor Tom McClintock for actual help. They weren’t interested. Ted Gaines did endorse some of the candidates because he was running for State Senate in the wake of the passing of Dave Cox (Gaines was actually on the ballot twice in 2010, before Gaines was on the ballot twice as two different people).
Kirk Uhler, Susan Rohan and others walked precincts with Suzanne Jones’ flyers in 2010. I distributed hers and my mothers’ stuff to all the gated communities in East Roseville as I had the fire department code at the time. Kirk Uhler was with me at least twice. I covered a part of Granite Bay on behalf of Andy Pugno as well.
We had such teamwork that Scott Huber (running for re-election) chipped in financially to split the cost of two-sided door-hanger flyers with my mother.
Suzanne defeated Trevor Sanders by about 5% and my mother blew out her opponents finishing only about 4% behind the top vote getter Scott Huber (he is still on the RJUHSD Board to this day). We put out so many flyers for Suzanne while knocking on doors that she ran out of flyers. The Placer CRA also bought slate mail cards on her behalf as well. Click here if you are curious about the election results.
Because of the election, the John Adams Academy in Roseville was safe (As Linda replaced Jack Duran whose seat came open when he was elected supervisor in 2010) and the Western Sierra Collegiate Academy got approved by a 5-2 Pro-Charter Majority (versus a previously 4-3 anti Charter group).
Kirk Uhler was there when other Republican Leaders had other priorities. Kirk helped raise money for the CRA slate cards in support of Republican candidates. You will notice a pattern with Uhler, he has stood in the Republican leadership vacuum many times over the nearly 20 years I have known him. This is a theme that will repeat…
Your Intrepid Blogger Circa 2010