By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Donnelly got a big boost when he was endorsed by KFI radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou. In a six-candidate field, he edged out Lancaster by 600 votes in the June primary. "It just shows you the networking strength of the Tea Party," Lancaster says.
Soon after the primary, Donnelly drove to Sacramento, where he was introduced to the Inland Empire's top power brokers.
Donnelly also had lunch with Dick Mountjoy, a former state senator most famous for introducing Proposition 187, the 1994 ballot initiative that aimed to strip illegal immigrants of access to social services.
Mountjoy told the Weekly that Donnelly would be a leader on illegal immigration: "I don't know if there's anybody up there that knows the issue better than Tim. He's been on the border. He's been part of the Minutemen."
But Mountjoy predicts it won't be easy to get anywhere with the Arizona law.
"If it's a Democrat-controlled Legislature, of course it dies in 30 seconds," Mountjoy says. "That's no reason not to try it. I tried [Proposition 187] 27 times before I put it on the ballot."
Republican Assemblyman Steve Knight from Palmdale also has experience with the immigration issue. During the last session, Knight introduced a bill to roll back a law allowing undocumented students to get in-state college tuition rates.
"That didn't go real well," Knight says. "I was treated very poorly in committee. They got a lot of college students to testify against me, and the chair on the committee pretty much ripped me a new one."
Knight says his constituents have been clamoring for him to introduce the Arizona law.
If Donnelly introduces it, Knight says he'll be happy to back him, but he shouldn't expect it to go anywhere. "I love his passion. But I want him to understand that it's going to have to be written in another way than it's been written before, or it's not going to get out of committee."
Republicans have a 9-point registration advantage in the 59th District, which should be more than enough for Donnelly to dispatch Democratic opponent Darcel Woods. But after that, Donnelly faces uncertainty. The district lines will be redrawn next year. More important, the state will switch to open primaries, a move that will favor centrist, pro-business candidates.
Donnelly, however, doesn't foresee a problem.
"If I do the right thing, why would I have trouble getting re-elected?" he asks. "All you have to do is fight for the right things.
"That's what I want. I want a guy who falls down half-dead on the floor of the Assembly, carrying the torch of freedom and carrying the voice of the common man."
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