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We have a grass-roots progressive fighter here in California's 52nd (San Diego) that needs our help!!  Since 2010, the district has been redrawn into what is now a very likely pick-up opportunity for democrats.  Lori Saldana, a three-term state assemblywoman from 2004-2010, was the first democrat to officially enter the race.  

Lori, a true progressive, is one of the earliest picks for EMILY's List:

"Lori is a strong and enthusiastic leader who we are thrilled to put 'On the List,'" Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY's List, said in a prepared statement.  "As an environmental leader and a state Assemblywoman, Lori has proven herself to be a tireless advocate for working families, the environment, and California's veterans.  We need Lori's strong voice in Washington standing up for women and families against the radical Republican agenda.  The EMILY's List community is proud to stand with Lori every step of the way."
Lori has a great progressive legislative record, receiving scores of 100% from organizations like the Sierra Club, Congress of California Seniors, Planned Parenthood, Equality California and the California Consumer Federation.

Southerly adjacent to Darrell Issa's 49th district, the newly redrawn 52nd is currently represented by Republican Brian Bilbray.

old-new district

A recent Independent Voter Network poll has her at a close second in the primary and at a statistical tie with Bilbray in the general!  (Note: these will be the first open primary elections in California - the top two, regardless of party, will run-off in November)

Brian Bilbray (R)                    27%
Lori Saldana (D)                    21%
Scott Peters (D)                   13%
Wayne Iverson (R)                  6%
Undecided                            34%

Lori Saldana (D)                    39%
Brian Bilbray (R)                    38%

Bilbray is vulnerable; he lost in 2000 to Democrat Susan Davis after having represented it for three terms.  This district was formerly the 50th, and Bilbray succeeded convicted felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham in 2006.  His office is ripe for the taking!

However, a spoiler has entered the fray, by the name of self-described "pro-business democrat" Scott Peters.  Follow me below to learn more!

While Peters is officially a Democrat, unofficially he acts more like a Republican.  After terming out on San Diego City Council in 2008, he was appointed to the San Diego Port Commission which he now chairs.  As the Port Commissioner, he oversees a $142 million budget without any public accountability.  These revenues are not only used to maintain the various port operations (including the airport), but these funds are also used for development projects.  Having this much money at his disposal gives Peters a very cushy position vis a vis local developers.  In San Diego, land is king and land-owners are the lords.  This is why Peters can brag about "bi-partisan" support; the powerful developers know which side their bread is buttered on, and this is why he has the endorsement of three former chairs of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce.

Probably the most interesting fact about Scott Peters is that his life is surprisingly Romney-esque.  His wife, Lynne Gorguze, is president and CEO of Cameron Holdings, a "...private equity company that specializes in the acquisition and operation of middle market manufacturing, industrial service, and value-added distribution companies. Cameron focuses on companies with annual revenues between $15 million and $100 million and has a successful track record of acquiring, operating, and growing its portfolio companies."

In the 2000 elections, when Peters first ran for City Council, he loaned his campaign $200K -- the job only pays $60,715.

In an interview published in early November [2000], he told the Union-Tribune that he had to put his own money into the campaign because Davis, his opponent, had been endorsed by the building industry. "That's generally where money comes from in San Diego politics, so we've had to make up for that by kicking in our own funds."
While he served on the City Council, eventually becoming Council President, he contributed to two infamous fiascoes: the pension crisis and violations of the Clean Water Act.  In 2002 he voted to continue to underfund the city's pension fund, a practice that had been in effect since 1996, eventually leading to a $1 billion pension deficit and nearly bankrupting the City.  The Clean Water Act violations were equally troubling (especially for a self-proclaimed "environmental lawyer").
The Mayor and City Council deliberately concealed from its citizens both the City's knowing violation of law and just as troubling, the fact that the violation resulted in San Diego's residents largely footing the sewage bill for the industrial class.  These facts were relegated to closed session discussions only, notwithstanding Councilmember [Donna] Frye's repeated efforts to bring matters to the public's attention.  These facts demonstrate that mayor Murphy and Council members [Toni] Atkins, [Brian] Mainschein, [Jim] Madaffer, [Ralph] Inzunza and [Scott] Peters knowingly and improperly caused the city to violate federal and state law, and the conditions of its grants and loans.
If that's not enough, at the recent Democratic State Convention here in San Diego, Lori had the support of seven out of the seven district Democratic Clubs, plus three regional clubs, for party endorsement.  

Enter Peters, who through some last-minute arm twisting, managed to steer two votes away from supporting Lori to voting for "no endorsement".  As a result, she lost the party endorsement by one vote! The final tally: 59.6% to 10% (60% is required for the official endorsement).

Peters had this to say:

“We’re really pleased with this,” he said in a brief interview. “Lori to her credit has been ... a member of these clubs for years ... So this is a good result for us and it’s the right result for our party."
Well, doesn't that say a lot!  Yes, Lori had the support of these true progressives because she is a true progressive.  Scott Peters is a moneyed shill for the 1%, and his main supporters are from the business community and other mainstream establishment democrats.  He does not have the grassroots support that Lori does, and he certainly doesn't have the progressive legislative record that she does.  Lori won her first election in 2004 not by raising tons of dough, but by walking precincts.  It was only through hard work pounding the pavement, meeting people, shaking hands, making appearances, phone calls, and by her amazing record as a fighter for environmental and economic justice, she won her campaign for State Assembly in 2004.  While in the Assembly, she also became Speaker Pro-Tem, the second highest post in the Assembly.  After three terms, she termed out in 2010.  When the 50th district became the 52nd, and was redrawn to include her home district, she decided to run.  The new district includes many of her former assembly constituents, so they are very familiar with her record.

Full disclosure: I am an unpaid volunteer for Lori's campaign.  With this diary, I would like to invite the dKos community to find out more about this progressive candidate that can win!!  She needs our help, and I'm hoping that Markos will pick up on this race because she is a perfect candidate for Orange to Blue.  Scott Peters has a big money machine at his back; at a recent debate he even bragged about having republican backers (no link; I was there and heard him say it).  He is the establishment candidate; the county party would definitely rather have him than Lori because Lori fights for us, not big money, and she doesn't take special interest money.

In about a week, Lori will be introducing herself here, and we in the dKos community will have an opportunity to get to know her.  In the meantime, please visit her website to learn more.  Here is just a sample of her many accomplishments:

Jobs and the Green Economy

 - Authored energy efficiency legislation (AB 1103) that will generate thousands of good-paying jobs while helping California businesses improve their bottom line.
 - Co-authored the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) to reduce greenhouse emissions, create green tech jobs and expand the state's renewable energy economy.
 - Co-authored the California Solar Roofs Initiative to make solar power more affordable, to create good-paying jobs manufacturing and installing solar systems, and to decrease the use of climate-changing fossil fuels in California.
 - Helped pass infrastructure bonds to repair crumbling roads, bridges and transit systems and generate hundreds of thousands of construction jobs and small business contracts.
 - Authored measures to expand the use of sustainable building materials and energy efficiency features in new construction and to stimulate employment by expanding green economic opportunity.
 - Helped pass the Green Collar Jobs Act of 2008 to develop green job opportunities and training programs in California.
 - Championed local renewable energy generation to create and keep good-paying green jobs here in San Diego.
 - Helped pass a law directing the California Energy Commission to spend federal stimulus funding on energy efficiency, green building and renewable energy projects.
 - Supported legislation to expedite the ability of cities and counties to develop their own green-building standards.
 - Co-authored legislation to expedite the release $200 million of bond funding to stimulate jobs in traffic-oriented housing and infrastructure construction.
 - Introduced measures to keep toxic materials out of California landfills and to protect the state's public tidelands from predatory development.
 - Authored legislation to increase the state's Environmental Fund, to get more hybrid vehicles and reduced-emission buses on the road, to clean up cross-border sewage, and to prevent toxic chemicals from seeping into the soil and groundwater.
 - Helped pass a package of bills to bring good-paying jobs and millions of dollars to San Diego to improve the region's water capacity.

Protecting Homeowners

 - Co-authored a law to prevent predatory mortgage lending practices and make mortgage brokers legally responsible for protecting the financial interests of borrowers.
 - Passed a package of bills to protect homeowners from the abuses of the sub-prime mortgage industry.

Equality & Civil Rights

 - Twice Co-authored landmark Marriage Equality legislation.
 - Co-authored legislation to expand California Civil Rights protections to Californians regardless of sexual orientation or marital status.
 - Received 100% scores from Equality California for all six years in the legislature.
 - Authored legislation ensuring minors have legal recourse for bullying.
 - Created a coalition of faith and community leaders to fight the growing problem of hate crimes in San Diego County.
 - Authored legislation to revive the Human Relation Commission in San Diego County.
 - Helped passed a law to prevent bullying and harassment in public schools.
 - Signed onto an Amicus brief in opposition to Proposition 8.
 - Signed a letter from the Legislature urging President Obama to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

And believe me, there's more.  Just go to her website to read on.  
Also, feel free to visit her ActBlue page and show her some love!!!

11:21 AM PT: I know I've posted this diary a few times, so I apologize if you've already recced and commented....  but I'm going to keep posting until we get noticed on Orange to Blue!!!!!

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