Proposition 8 author vows to fight for Assembly seat
The author of Proposition 8 is vowing to continue his fight for an Assembly seat in the Sacramento suburbs, despite an earlier pledge to drop out if he failed to finish first in the June primary.
Andy Pugno, who drafted the ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California, came in second to incumbent Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Rocklin) but told the Sacramento Bee this week that he had decided to continue his campaign because of what he called his opponent's "dishonest and unethical campaign tactics" in the final days of the primary.
"As the only other candidate on the November ballot, stepping aside and simply handing the election to Beth Gaines would be fundamentally unfair to the voters in light of a primary election tainted by her blatant dishonesty," Pugno said in a statement. "Whether or not the incumbent should be reelected is a decision that belongs to the voters, not just to me."
In the primary campaign, Gaines distributed a flier that falsely claimed Pugno "ran an organization that circumvented nonprofit laws to allow special interests to pay for legislative junkets in Hawaii."
According to the Bee, Pugno has never been associated with the group in question -- the Pacific Policy Research Foundation. His law firm simply shared a mailing address with the organization. Dave Gilliard, Gaines' political consultant, told the newspaper that voters would hold Pugno to his primary pledge.
As of June 30, the last time the campaigns reported spending to state election officials, Pugno had $4,303 in cash on hand, compared to Gaines' $36,335. Since then, the Proposition 8 author has reported receiving two campaign donations totaling $4,900, including a $3,900 check from Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield).
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: Andy Pugno at a news conference in 2009. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press