Driving I-80 east, I pulled over for a pit stop in Auburn, California, a Sierra foothill town. At the first corner it was clear there was an election going on.
Hey -- I know that name. Gordy Ansleigh is legendary in running circles. Back in 1974, when his horse went lame before the Tevis Cup 100 mile horse race over mountains and through canyons, Ansleigh completed the course on foot in under 24 hours. This feat was the beginning of the Western States Endurance Run, a 100 mile ultramarathon that set the standard for such runs in the U.S. The event is held in June each year.
Apparently he wants a seat on the Auburn Area Recreation and Park District board.
Ansleigh is part of a slate...
and the running community is plugging for them.
It was nice to see the No on Prop. 8 sign up in the hills.
The closely watched race in the area is Charlie Brown's second effort to win a Congressional seat for the Democrats. It's a tough project. CA-04 went for George W. Bush by 24 points in 2004. But in 2006 Brown almost defeated the incumbent Republican John Doolittle who had been awfully close to the crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The ethically tainted Doolittle chose to retire rather than go for a rematch.
Doolittle's retirement might have done in Brown's hopes -- except that the Republicans chose an improbable candidate in their primary. For several decades, Tom McClintock has represented rightwing Orange County districts in the stage legislature. His extreme brand of conservatism is well known in the state; whenever no one else will sign a ballot argument for a nutty rightwing initiative, you can count on McClintock. But McClintock was termed out of the legislature. He wanted to go on to Congress. There's no law that a Congressional candidate has to live in the district -- so he ran in CA-04, hundreds of miles from where he has lived and worked in. Lots of people in the foothill district are pretty doubtful about this carpetbagger candidate. For a description of what it is like knocking on doors for Brown, see this story.
Recent polling gives Charlie Brown a good chance in this very Republican district.
Leaving Auburn, it was time to push on over Donner Summit.
There I met this kindred spirit.
On to Colorado...