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ilbegone 10-19-2009 11:06 AM

New entrant shakes up Assembly race
New entrant shakes up Assembly race


BY CHRISTINE BEDELL, Californian government editor

Last Updated Tuesday, Oct 06 2009 07:16 PM

Bakersfield psychologist Dean Haddock has filed initial papers to run for the 32nd Assembly District post, stunning even veteran local politicos who thought his wing of the GOP would come up with a stronger candidate.

The move also suggests incumbent Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, is not running for a third and final Assembly term -- and will go for the state Senate instead -- as she and Haddock have the same campaign consultant, Mark Abernathy.

Fuller said again Tuesday she's undecided.

Haddock, also a Bakersfield planning commissioner who unsuccessfully ran for county supervisor in 2006, has filed a statement of intention to run for the 32nd seat, according to the California Secretary of State's office.

The primary is next June; the general election is in November.

Haddock did not return calls Tuesday but the phone number he listed in his campaign filing was to Abernathy's firm, Western Pacific Research.

Haddock's potential entry in the 32nd District primary was a bit of a shocker to local Republican consultant Stan Harper. He’d predicted that with Bakersfield City Councilman Zack Scrivner running for county supervisor instead of Fuller’s seat, either Fuller was going to seek re-election or the Abernathy camp was going to find an “800-pound gorilla” to run in the 32nd.

Haddock weighs in at about 200 pounds, Harper said.

"He had the run against Mike Maggard for the 3rd Supervisorial District and did quite poorly," Harper said. "But since then he has done some fence-mending and with his commentary on local radio daily, he's been (developing) name ID."

Kern High School District Trustee Ken Mettler, who is also mulling a 32nd District run, would have the advantage in the Republican primary for a few reasons, Harper said.

Haddock doesn't appear to have done the necessary community work that makes one a viable candidate, he said, while Mettler has been very visible as a former Rosedale Union School District board member and current KHSD one.

"Mettler's been very straight-forward about what he believes in and what he's accomplished," Harper said.

And the all-important ballot designation game would seem to favor Mettler, who could put down school trustee, Harper said.

Still, there's room for an even stronger candidate than Mettler and Haddock in the 32nd, he said.

"I don't think they will be the only two people in this race," Harper said.

Also stunned by Haddock's move - and apparent backing by Abernathy - was former Bakersfield City Councilman Mark Salvaggio, noting the psychologist's lack of political experience other than recently being named to the planning commission. He was named by Councilman Ken Weir, another Abernathy client.

Abernathy's running Haddock because he can control him, Salvaggio said.

"Dean Haddock? Give us a break," he said. "He was a poor candidate for the Board of Supervisors and he's a poor candidate for the Assembly."

But unlike Harper, Salvaggio said Haddock has a good chance of winning because Abernathy can raise the needed money and Mettler has baggage, such as his fight with a protester over Proposition 8 signs and his insertion into negotiations between Kern High School District teachers and administration.

While not wanting to "personalize" his comments against Haddock, Mettler called himself the strong, independent advocate the district needs.

"I bring a toughness to the race," Mettler said. "And I don't need direction from anyone."

ilbegone 10-19-2009 11:09 AM

With all the nuts in the legislature, I rather believe Sacramento would do well to have a psychologist on board.

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