Lyrics from The Who's “Won't Get Fooled Again” (see video after the jump) have probably been used many times before by political pundits, but that won't stop us from using them again: “Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss!”

Those immortal words from The Who's Pete Townshend are particularly relevant in the hotly contested California Assembly District 39 race, in which Democrat and career political aide Raul Bocanegra has a good chance of knocking off Democrat and career politician Richard Alarcon on Tuesday, November 6.

If Bocanegra wins, will voters in AD 39 just get a new boss that's the same as old one?

From what we found in the L.A. Weekly news story “Assembly District 39's Dilemma,” it looks as if that could be true.

Bocanegra has come up the ranks of the local and state Democratic Party — not always a breeding ground for a new kind of politician — and is now looking to replace the fading Richard Alarcon, an L.A. City Councilman who's going through major legal troubles.

Bocanegra was an aide for then-L.A. City Council President Alex Padilla, spent a brief time as an aide to Alarcon (his “old boss”), and is now on leave as the chief of staff to Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes.

Fuentes (another “old boss” who will be termed out) is considered by some as the worst legislator in California. Wonder what bad habits Bocanegra has learned from him?

Of course, if Bocanegra does win, we'd love to see him thrive and shine as the assemblyman of AD 39.

But since Bocanegra has heavy backing from the Democratic political establishment, he may feel more beholden to Sacramento and Los Angeles power brokers than to the voters who elected him. We'll certainly be keeping a watchful eye.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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