Business cred brouhaha breaks out in Assembly election

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Assembly candidate Beth Gaines’ small-business-ownership credentials are being questioned in court by 4th District opponent John Allard. Allard filed a lawsuit earlier this week in Sacramento County Superior challenging Gaines’ ballot designation as a small business owner as misleading to voters. But a spokesman for Gaines has countered that Allard’s action is a publicity stunt from a career bureaucrat whose only claim to owning his own small business lies with his wife’s housekeeping service. Allard, a Roseville City Council member and former chief of staff for retired state Sen. Tim Leslie, contends in court documents that are due to be heard in an open session Friday that while Gaines claims to be a small businesswoman, there is no evidence of her being in business. “Her husband is a small businessman but she is simply not,” Allard said. The Allard campaign points to paperwork filed with the Placer County Elections Office that claims income from both the Gaines Ranch in Butte City and Pointwest Insurance Associates in Sacramento but then states respectively that “Spouse is partner” and “Spouse is vice president” when asked to write down “Your business position.” Dave Gilliard, campaign consultant for Gaines, said Beth Gaines and her husband, Ted Gaines, are partners in both family businesses. The ranch is partnership with Ted Gaines’ brother and while Ted Gaines started Pointwest, Beth Gaines has been working as a marketing consultant and receiving income for that, Gilliard said. An amended form filed with the state Fair Political Practices Commission shows Beth Gaines had income from Pointwest of between $1,000 and $10,000 last year, he said. Kim Nichols, spokeswoman for Allard, said the Gaines contention that Allard isn’t a small business person either is another attempt by Beth Gaines’ campaign to mislead voters. “He (Allard) is completely hands-on and works numerous hours at his office in Placer County,” Nichols said. “It’s absurd to say he’s not an independent small businessman.” Both candidates are Republicans and two of seven members of the GOP competing with one Democratic Party candidate Dennis Campanale in the special election to replace Ted Gaines. Election day is March 3, with the possibility of the two leading vote-getters moving on to a May 3 runoff. The Assembly seat has been vacant since earlier this month, when incumbent Ted Gaines – winner of both the District 4 election in November and a special election in Senate District 1 to replace the late Dave Cox – moved to the Senate. Rob Matthews, one of the other Republican Assembly candidates, said Thursday that he thinks Gaines should keep her ballot designation. “Ted and Beth are good people and this just seems off beam to me,” Matthews said. “They have been business owners for a long time and she should be able to keep her ballot designation, no question about it.” Matthews said that the lawsuit and a court battle isn’t what voters are looking for. “The voters are tired of this malarkey,” Matthews said. The other candidates in the race are Michael O’Connor of Lincoln, Matt Williams of South Lake Tahoe, Cheryl Bly-Chester of Roseville and Bogdan Ambrozewicz of Greenwood.