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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Pombo Out of the Running

Ten states held primary elections yesterday, and voters across the country decided which candidates will face off in the November match-ups. One former lawmaker who won’t be in the running is Richard Pombo, who came in a distant third in the GOP race for California’s 19th congressional district—or who, as John Ellis of the Fresno Bee described it as the votes were tallied last night, was “left in the campaign dust and headed to certain defeat.”

Richard Pombo, who has one of the most extreme records
on animal cruelty, lost the GOP primary yesterday.

It’s good news for animal protection, as Pombo was the most extreme enemy of animal welfare during his fourteen years in Congress. He opposed common-sense policies to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting and to ban sick and injured cattle from the human food supply. He supported taxpayer subsidies for trophy hunting of African elephants and the luxury mink coat industry. He was the only member of Congress who had advocated for the resumption of commercial whaling by Japan and Norway. He used his bully pulpit as chairman of the House Resources Committee to block any serious examination of wildlife protection bills.

HSLF reached out to tens of thousands of Republican primary voters in the Central Valley district, and let them know about Pombo’s extreme record on animal cruelty. He apparently felt that the information was hurting his chances, because in the days leading up to the election, Pombo launched his own web site answering HSLF and trying to defend his record on animal issues. It’s a strategy that former Rep. Joe Knollenberg and others have tried in the past, and as Republican pollster Steve Mitchell told the Detroit Free Press, “when you’re spending a lot of time trying to defend the fact that you’re not cruel to animals, it makes it harder to win.”

The 19th district is solidly Republican, and the winner of yesterday’s primary—state Sen. Jeff Denham—is expected to easily win the general election. If Pombo had emerged as the victor yesterday, he would have been all but guaranteed to return to Congress. It’s a good outcome for animals, and it demonstrates the critical role that HSLF plays in letting voters know where the candidates stand on animal protection.

Steven Lait/Oakland Tribune


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