Among the surprises in yesterday's poll results was that Mickey Kaus got only 5.3% of the vote against Barbara Boxer. (We predicted 7%.) Even more surprising, though, is that Brian Quintana got 14.2%.
Who is Brian Quintana?
He's a fund-raiser and Hollywood producer who lives in Boyle Heights. From his website, it appears he enjoys having his picture taken with politicians and celebrities.
Beyond that, he's what you might call a traditional gadfly, inasmuch as he took his campaign seriously and thought he could win, no matter how hopeless it looked to everyone else.
UPDATE: Well, not "traditional." Quintana has a long history of getting into bizarre legal skirmishes with celebrities. From a Times report in 2009:
"Brian Quintana is an individual who made a career out of hanging on to
well-known people, creating trouble for them, demanding compensation
from them and, when he is about to be cut off, blackmailing them with
And he still got 14.2%! Even more remarkable! Thanks to commenter Quintana Facts.
In an interview, Quintana said it is time for California to elect a Latino senator. He also believes that Boxer has become complacent and arrogant in office. But unlike Kaus, he has no major quarrels with Democratic Party orthodoxy. He is a supporter of unions and comprehensive immigration reform.
He said he believed he could win if he raised $2 million. But despite his experience in fund-raising, he found it difficult to make any headway.
"Everyone I was calling was either, 'We love Barbara,' or 'We hate Barbara and we're in bed with the Republicans,'" he said.
Quintana said he ultimately raised about $85,000 -- of which $24,000 was out of his own pocket. (Oddly, he hasn't gotten around to sharing this information with the FEC.)
Quintana said he didn't quite know what to make of Kaus at first.
"All my analysis told me this guy has no base," he said.
He said it became clear that Kaus wasn't a serious contender when Kaus submitted his ballot designation: "Journalist/Blogger."
"When I saw that I said, 'OK, this is a joke.'"
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Quintana's own designation, Businessman/Educator, came off like poll-tested voter catnip. He probably also won votes thanks to his Latino surname, though he argues there is no hard evidence that Latinos vote that way.
As for what he will do next, he says he has some film projects in the works.
But he also said he got a call today from Maria Elena Durazo, the head of the powerful L.A. County Federation of Labor.
"She said, 'You did well. Now do we need to find a seat for you?'"
UPDATE: On second thought, probably not.