Californians do not have to be too knowledgeable about state politics to recognize the name of Democratic incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
However, they would probably have to be somewhat of a midterm election expert to know which random GOP sidekick, 74-year-old Dick Mountjoy, has been given the task of unseating her.
On Nov. 7, Feinstein, 73, is expecting to win her fourth consecutive term as a California U.S. Senator.
“The outcome of this campaign was determined earlier this year when the candidate filing took place,” said Kam Kuwata, Feinstein’s campaign manager since 1991.
Along with an emphasis on combating global warming, Kuwata said another one of Feinstein’s main issues is improving U.S. foreign policy relations.
“She’s (Feinstein) spoken loudly about the need to turn around our position in Iraq ? Our position in the world is deteriorating and leaving a cloud over our head,” he said.
As for Mountjoy, neither he nor anyone overseeing his campaign budget responded to half a dozen interview attempts.
The polls also paint a picture of doom for Mountjoy. As of Sept. 12, Feinstein was leading Mountjoy 58 to 35 percent, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll. And according to another recent poll conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle, 60 percent of likely voters have a favorable impression of Feinstein.
Nevertheless, Mountjoy’s online biography touts him as a candidate with more than 30 years of experience who can be counted on to “uphold the conservative banner.” And regardless of Mountjoy’s recent inability to be seen or heard from, he does have a comprehensive r?sum?.
As an Arcadia area native, Mountjoy served as a city councilman and mayor of the conservative San Gabriel Valley town of Monrovia. He then went on to serve on the state Assembly as well as on the senate before his recent retirement.
A large newspaper recently called into question Mountjoy’s credibility. An investigation into Mountjoy’s online biography revealed an inconsistency in one of the ex-senator’s claims.
In it, Mountjoy claimed to have served while in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War on the prestigious USS Missouri. The newspaper, however, could not find any record of Mountjoy’s service on the USS Missouri. After being confronted with their findings, Mountjoy had his staff quickly edit out the reference to the USS Missouri and replace it with the less prestigious USS Bremerton. Mountjoy maintained that while his name was not on the ship’s records, he had, on occasion, been on it.
Perhaps Mountjoy’s most notable feat was his 1994 authorship of proposition 187.
Proposition 187, or the Illegal Aliens Ineligibility for Public Services initiative, passed with ease before being overturned by a federal court.
At least one Monrovia resident finds favor with Mountjoy.
“I like Dick,” said Monrovia City Councilman Tom Adams. “I know his family well. He’s always been a great representative of this community.”
While Adams spoke highly of Mountjoy’s character, he said that he had not talked to Mountjoy since his Republican bid for Senate was announced, and that he did not feel comfortable speaking on the record about the election.
CSUN student Scot Gilmore, a 30-year-old sociology major, said he was surprised he had never heard of Mountjoy. Gilmore, who votes regularly, offered up his opinion.
“I’m sure Feinstein will win,” he said. “What would motivate someone without a chance to win?” Gilmore also said Mountjoy did not have “a chance in hell” of winning and that his candidacy seemed more like a joke.
Engineering student Lance Cervantes also said he had not heard of Mountjoy. However, Cervantes said Mountjoy did not have anything to lose by running except for the money he’s spending.
Julia Potter, an extended learning staff member, said she has always been a Feinstein admirer.
Despite her lack of Mountjoy knowledge, she still offered insight, and said that it is unnerving that Mountjoy’s staff doesn’t return phone calls.
“He may be the sacrificial lamb,” she said. “Maybe he’s a low-risk choice. It doesn’t seem like he has much to bring to the table.”