Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, right, said a new Senate seat that includes Moreno Valley is “winnable” for Democrats./AP

THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Published: 11 December 2011 06:55 PM

Senate Democrats think they have a great chance at grabbing the redrawn Senate district that extends from Corona to Moreno Valley.

But first they have to find a candidate they can rally behind. Only a few weeks remain before candidates can start collecting signatures to get on the ballot; the candidate filing period formally opens Feb. 13.

“We’re working on it. It’s a winnable seat, and it’s one of our important pick-up opportunities in the Senate,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said last week.

Democrats hold a narrow registration edge over Republicans in the 31st Senate District. Democrats Barack Obama and Jerry Brown carried the district by double digits.

Former Inland lawmaker Steve Clute is the only declared Democrat for the seat. But Clute, who left the Legislature in 1992, has not been endorsed by anyone in the 25-member caucus.

In September, Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, a Democrat, said he would not be a candidate for the seat. Rumblings continue that he is still being courted, however.

Republicans, meanwhile, have their chosen contender for the district: Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, who’s been campaigning hard since summer.

INITIATIVE LANGUAGE

Inland Southern California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly got lots of camera time during last week’s “Daily Show” segment on the state’s initiative process.

And if nothing else, Donnelly gave the show’s bleep-button operator a rest from cleaning up the language of state Democratic Party chairman John Burton, who dropped at least five “f-bombs” in the segment.

The two, who did not appear on camera together, had opposite views of Amazon.com’s signature-collection effort last summer to block legislation requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes.

“Why the (bleep) should Amazon skate … because they don’t want to have a (expletive) sales tax like everybody else?” Burton told correspondent John Oliver.

But Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said, “Freedom takes many forms.”

“In this case, the little guys are standing on Amazon’s shoulders and saying, `You know what? We just want to breathe some free air,’” he tells Oliver.

Oliver then proposes a hypothetical initiative to make May 31 “Tim Donnelly is an A—— Day.”

“I would need 500,000 signatures,” Oliver said.

Answered Donnelly: “I don’t think that would be that hard in this state.”

TECH SAVVY

Amid the increasing threat of cyber attacks and congressional debates over online security, technology is a hot topic in Washington these days. And Inland Rep. Mary Bono Mack is at the forefront of the issue.

In her first year as chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, has held hearings to look at Internet privacy, high-profile data breaches and the legal issues surrounding online gambling.

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