Gus Gomez is hoping that three words can put him into a judicial
seat: deputy attorney general.
Those are the words that will appear beneath his name on the
ballot for Superior Court judge next month. And with an electorate
that usually knows little to nothing about judicial candidates before
seeing the ballot on election day, those are the three words that can
determine his fate.
"It really comes down to title," Gomez said. "Those [voters] that
do research, they'll judge on your overall record, look at your
education, trial experience, quasi-judicial experience. But it really
comes down to occupation."
Gomez, who is also a Glendale city councilman, is running for
Superior Court judge in the March 2 primary election. He has five
opponents, including three deputy district attorneys, a law school
professor and a trial attorney.
If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two
vote-getters will compete in a runoff in the Nov. 2 general election.
The winner takes office in January 2005.
When Gomez filed for the judicial position in late October, he
received criticism for running for a new office so soon after his
City Council election. But during that campaign, he thought he might
earn a judicial appointment from then-Gov. Gray Davis over the next
few years. When Davis was recalled and replaced by a Republican,
Gomez changed his plans.
"This is an extension of my career in public service," Gomez said.
"I'm very proud of the work that I've done on City Council, and I'm
very proud of the work that I've done as a prosecutor, but I feel I
can best serve the public from the bench."
If Gomez wins, he must forfeit his seat on the City Council. The
council could either appoint a replacement or, more likely, hold a
special election for that seat during the April 2005 City Council
Even though his name and title will be the most important factors
in his election, Gomez is still campaigning, although with a
different tactic than he used in his two successful City Council
elections. Rather than focusing on meeting voters and individual
contact -- in a countywide election, the electorate is just too large
-- Gomez is working on getting endorsements and joining slates. A
slate is a group of candidates for various offices that send
countywide mailers together to save costs.
He has received endorsements from L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca,
State Atty. General Bill Lockyer, the California Assn. of Deputy
Attorney Generals, the Glendale Police Officers' Assn. and the Los
Angeles County Democratic Party, among others.
Gomez said he expects to spend about $50,000 on this election, and
he wants to raise about half of that, covering the rest with loans.
He said he already raised about $10,000. According to documents
obtained from the L.A. County Registrar's office, Gomez received
$2,675 in contributions as of Dec. 31, and added $30,497.84 in loans.
In his City Council election in 2003, Gomez said he spent between
$85,000 and $100,000.
"We know him in Glendale, but to do it in L.A. [County] is a big
challenge on his part," said Carol Cianfrini, who contributed to
Gomez's 2003 City Council campaign and his judicial campaign. "I give
him credit for pursuing it."