Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election campaign has challenged the ballot designation submitted by her only opponent, Republican Young Kim of La Habra. According to an OC Register story by veteran political writer Martin Wisckol, Ms. Kim listed her occupation as “Small Businesswoman,” claiming that she “reactivated” a consulting business after leaving the employ of Congressman Ed Royce, Jr.’s office, where she had served as an aide for twenty years.
Ballot designations can be a crucial factor in deciding who wins a race. Voters are notoriously lazy, and often choose a candidate based on little more than an occupation listed next to their name. “Small Business Woman” sounds much better than “Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs” Ret. (although candidates are limited to only three words) when one is running on a platform to make California “business-friendly so businesses can grow and create jobs.”
The Quirk-Silva campaign reportedly objected to the “Small Business Woman” designation submitted by Ms. Kim because her “financial disclosures filed last week show no income from her business and that it has no website.” Mr. Wiskol goes on to report that Young Kim’s “political consultant Dave Gilliard countered that she legally established the business last year and started making money from it only this year.”
For twenty years someone is a political insider, but then leaves government work for the private sector just before running for a seat in the California State Assembly, but makes no money the first year as a consultant? Not the best record for a candidate from a political party that ostensibly values small government and respects business acumen.
Of course, anyone who casts a vote based only on a ballot designation deserves whatever they get in office, but candidates should also be as forthright as possible when representing their primary occupation to the electorate.