Editorial: State Senate race marred by hyperbolic nonsense

Local Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee heads into Tuesday’s state Senate election as the front-runner. That’s good; he has been an effective assemblyman and we believe he deserves a term in the Senate.

But if Blakeslee wins, it will be in spite of — not because of — his campaign, which was marred by disorganization and missteps by some of his campaign staffers. (Not to be confused with members of his legislative office staff, who are consistently helpful.)

To be sure, the abbreviated campaign was characterized by way too many over-the-top accusations from both Democrats and Republicans.

If we’re to believe the propaganda machines, Republican Blakeslee will turn the entire coastline over to Big Oil, and Democrat John Laird will single-handedly bankrupt the state.

That’s utter nonsense on both counts.

We’ve found both candidates to be smart and thoughtful. They care deeply about California and its residents.

That said, we were disappointed in the way Blakeslee, in particular, ran his campaign, and not only because of his hyperbolic attacks on Laird.

Over the past several weeks, Blakeslee was often defensive, guarded in his answers and at times played so hard-to-get with debate organizers that some SLO County voters were wondering whether he had forgotten them completely.

That’s completely at odds with the Sam Blakeslee we know, who has been highly responsive to his constituents and has worked tirelessly to solve their problems.

True, as a current member of the Assembly, Blakeslee had more on his plate than Laird. And because he isn’t well known in the northern part of the district — and already has a large base of support here — Blakeslee did need to concentrate on wooing voters in other areas.

But those are not excuses.

If the results of the primary hold up and Blakeslee goes on to win Tuesday’s election, we strongly urge him to get back to the business of constituent service. Otherwise, he may find his strong base of local support eroding in the next election.

What to do about an ugly, pricey, unnecessary election? Vote in it

No matter the outcome of Tuesday’s election for state Senate, it comes at a big expense to taxpayers: $450,000 is the estimated cost for our county alone.

If you’re feeling ripped off, you should.

Holding two special elections — rather than consolidating one with a general election — was like a slap in the face to residents who hear nothing but financial tales of woe out of Sacramento.

We’re not going to rehash the arguments over who was at fault; we believe both the Legislature and the governor share in the blame. We can only hope that a better-than-ho-hum turnout will partially justify the expense.

Turnout in the primary election was 37.8 percent in San Luis Obispo County. We can do better — but it’s up to you.

If you vote by mail and haven’t already turned in your ballot, do not mail it now — it might not arrive in time. Instead, drop it off at a county elections office in San Luis Obispo or Atascadero on Monday or Tuesday, or drop it at any polling place in the county between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

If you vote the old-school way, stop by your neighborhood polling place on Tuesday and cast a ballot in person.

Think of it as a way of getting even — and doing your civic duty at the same time.