Commentary: Why I broke ranks from my party and voted for Rush

When I mailed my ballot to the Registrar of Voters earlier this week it included a vote for Bob Rush for the 74th California Assembly District and was one of the rare times in a half-century of casting ballots that I chose someone other than a Republican in a partisan race. I wanted to tell you why I chose Rush.

As a life-long Republican, I faced the dilemma of sticking with the party line and voting for a very ineffective politician, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa), or selecting a moderate Democrat to represent the views of the voters in this district and who might actually have a chance to make a difference in Sacramento.

Mansoor, who masqueraded as the incumbent, but is not — the 74th Assembly District is a new district — demonstrated his incompetence during the past two years when he served in Sacramento from the old 68th Assembly District.

Because my Republican Party is in the minority in Sacramento — and because Mansoor lacks the education, background and skills to be a persuasive negotiator — he was basically just keeping the seat warm. None of his initiatives made it to a vote except for one: the bill earlier this year that removed the term “retarded” from the official Sacramento lexicon. That bill was guaranteed passage, no matter who proposed it.

Rush, on the other hand, is a successful businessman — educated as a numbers guy with the skill set of a salesman — just the kind of background we need in Sacramento today as the legislature scrambles to keep the state from tumbling over the cliff of insolvency.

In his Newport Beach activism against the proliferation of rehab homes he demonstrated that he’s a persuasive, tenacious guy. During face-to-face encounters in candidate forums he showed up prepared, was an effective speaker and clearly the strongest person at the table each time. He made it to the General Election by whipping Newport Beach Republican Councilwoman Leslie Daigle in the primary.

So, rather than simply settle for a weak candidate coughed up by the Orange County Republican Party system, this time around I chose to vote for a man who has the skills to effectively represent my community in Sacramento — Bob Rush. I cast that vote knowing full well that he will face the electorate again in two very short years, providing the opportunity to fix a mistake if one is made. Personally, I don’t think a vote for Bob Rush is a mistake — I think he’s the best man for the job — so I wholeheartedly cast my vote for him.

Blogger GEOFF WEST lives in Costa Mesa.