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Saturday, May 10 2014 11:01 PM

Enough nonsense; Harris best choice for AG

By The Bakersfield Californian

Attorney General Kamala Harris is expected to easily win re-election to a second term. There are two reasons: Harris, a Democrat, has done an excellent job as California's top prosecutor; and Republicans have fielded a pitifully weak slate of candidates to run against her.

In the June primary, Harris faces two Republicans, including former assemblyman and state senator Phil Wyman of Kern County, as well as a Republican-turned-no-party-preference and a Libertarian. The two top vote-getters in the primary -- Harris and one of these challengers -- will face each other in November.

It is usually tempting to back the local guy in any race, political in particular.

Not this time.

Wyman is clearly just searching for yet another political office. At 69 years old, we have to ask: Why, sir, are you still at this? Isn't it time to move on?

Wyman has not distinguished himself as an attorney capable of being the state's top cop. In fact, it's likely that only voters who read the fine print in candidates' statements would know he was an attorney.

For years, Kern County voters have endured Wyman's embarrassing chase from one elected post to another; he's often changed his address to satisfy candidate residency requirements.

For those who may have forgotten Wyman's forgettable political career: In 1978, Wyman, whose family owns a Tehachapi ranch, was elected to represent Assembly District 34. Wyman's decade-plus in the Assembly is mostly remembered for his failed "back masking" bill that would have required labels on rock music records warning of possible Satanic messages.

In 1992, Wyman changed addresses so he could run in the new 25th Congressional District but was defeated in the primary by Republican Buck McKeon. In 1993, he moved north to win a special election to represent the Fresno-based 16th state Senate District, but a year later Democrat Jim Costa knocked him from office. Wyman was the only Republican west of the Mississippi to be unseated in the 1994 GOP landslide.

In 1995, Wyman moved again to run in east Kern's 17th Senate District Republican primary, losing to Pete Knight. In 2000, he returned to the Assembly to represent the 34th District. But in 2002, Wyman moved yet again to run in the 36th Assembly District, losing to Republican Sharon Runner. In 2006, he waged an unsuccessful bid to replace 32nd District Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy, who ran for Congress. In 2010, he returned to the political fray -- moving north once again -- to run unsuccessfully for the 16th Senate District seat.

Attorneys David King of San Diego and Ron Gold of Woodland Hills, both Republicans, join fellow Republican attorney John Haggerty of Santa Clara in the race. King and Gold are low-key and relatively unknown to voters. With less than four weeks to go until the June 3 election, they all are failing to attract much attention. Jonathan Jaech, a Los Angeles attorney, also is running — as a Libertarian.

Besides Harris, the candidate with the biggest name recognition is unsuccessful 2012 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Orly Taitz. She holds degrees in law and dentistry and is running without a party affiliation. Taitz is probably best known for filing lawsuits contesting President Obama's citizenship and promoting assorted other conspiracy theories.

Her attorney general candidacy statement features promises to attack both Obamacare and U.S. trade agreements. Most impressive is her vow to prosecute state officials who ignore evidence that she contends shows Obama is actually an Indonesian citizen.

If nothing else, the attorney general's race will be entertaining. In addition to Taitz's theatrics, Wyman has called for the execution of state legislators who are convicted of corruption -- by lethal injection, hanging or firing squad. The recent spate of state Senate scandals seems to have energized Wyman's imagination.

You can't make this stuff up.

We recommend voters cast their primary ballots for one candidate and one only -- the incumbent, Kamala Harris. Let's not encourage the others.

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