Yesterday I blogged about how my friend and fellow conservative Matt Harper had decided not to run in the race for Assembly in the 72nd District in West Orange County. This left Los Alamitos Councilman Troy Edgar and County Board of Education member Long Pham in the race. Shortly after I blogged about this I heard that another Republican, Travis Allen, had jumped into the race.
I’ve met Allen before — I’ve run into him in political circles. He’s into wealth management, and as I have found with 90% of the people I have met in that business, he’s very gregarious and outgoing. Still when I heard about his candidacy I did what I usually do — some online research. The first stops that I always make on the web are to the Secretary of State’s Cal-Access website to check on someone’s political donations to state candidates (when the site is working) and to the FEC website to check on someone’s federal political giving.
When I punched in Travis Allen, it was not his contributions to Republican candidates and PACs that caught my eye. That isn’t unusual, especially for people who are looking to run for office. Allen contributed on the state side to Tom Harman for Attorney General, to Atlas PAC, and wrote a good sized check to pay membership in the Orange County Lincoln Club. On the federal side he donated to U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Rick Perry for President, the New Majority PAC, the OC GOP PAC and to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for Congress. All of these are donations between 2010 and 2011.
What caused me to scratch my head, and give one of those, “You simply can’t make this stuff up” looks was Allen’s donation history to Democrat candidates. It was concerning enough to me that I called him up to ask him about it today. He was in a hurry, and told me that he would have to call me back, but he did say that he recalled that, “…there were some events…” He said he would call me back, and so we’ll see what explanation he can give for the political giving I outline below…
On the state side Allen gave donations to ACT Blue (a Dem PAC), Gavin Newsom for Lt. Governor, the California Democrat Party, and my personal favorite — his company gave $1,000 to the election of Jerry Brown for Governor one month before the 2010 election.
On the federal side Allen gave to the Democrat Party of Orange County (the same amount as he gave to the OC GOP, actually – some parity), the 4 Senate Victory Fund (which in turn made contributions to top Dem U.S. Senate targets, like Al Franken!), Brad Sherman for Congress, and (good grief) a check to help the re-election of Senator Barbara Boxer.
To be honest with you, it caught me a bit by surprise, since I hadn’t really thought of Travis as someone who played on both sides of the partisan aisle. That having been said, I am just trying to imagine Allen going around this conservative Orange County legislative district, explaining why he felt so strongly about electing Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman, and so on.
Perhaps this is an intended consequence of Proposition 14 — Allen may feel that he can go out and make a case for Democrats to cross over and support him (I did check and Allen is running as a Republican). I can certainly speak for myself, though, in saying that while I do not live in this district, if I did, I could not in good conscience vote for someone who thinks that elected and supporting these ultra-liberal politicians is a good idea.