Think voters pick the winner? Sure …

Chico walnut farmer Jack Lee, a Republican, is a state Assembly candidate for District 3, the seat held by Rick Keene.

Take off those rose-colored glasses; I want to expose some hypocrisy—hidden from the voters—that I’ve run into as a candidate.

Campaign endorsements are an elemental part of a state election, and I’ve relied on them to tell me how to vote. Probably we all have, at some point. However, there’s a fair chance we’ve been had. Endorsements are often the creation of a campaign consultant who makes deals, raises money and gets endorsements on behalf of the novice candidate.

Did I just hear somebody say, “It’s corrupt?” Uh-huh, it sure is!

Do you find it odd that months before the final filing date for an election, most major donors and endorsers are already lined up behind the candidate endorsed by the incumbent? It raises the question: How could they all be so rash, when it’s not yet known who else might be running? The fact is, it doesn’t matter to them; it’s been decided who will win, and they’re part of the fix.

Long-range plans in politics are essential to long-term careers in politics. It’s all about “quid pro quo” (something for something), and this is why the incumbent takes such a vested interest in his chosen candidate. When the former incumbent wants to run for higher office, he has the support of his successor. All of his allies have been kept in play using the tag-team approach.

Special-interest groups and PACs play a big part in this conspiracy, too, because they have made a substantial investment in the incumbent, and they want to protect that investment. This is why you see the incumbent leading his candidate around by the hand to all his big backers—assuring them it will be business as usual with the new guy.

The next job is to use all this corrupt money and power to make you believe this “endorsed” candidate is your best choice. This usually works, too; unfortunately the end result is a California Legislature that has an approval rating under 20 percent and is spending us into bankruptcy.

Election reform is long overdue in California. We’ve allowed big money and powerful people to create a virtual monopoly in elections. This monopoly excludes too many decent candidates with fresh ideas.

Here’s a simple way to slow down this corruption and improve performance. My close friend Dan once said, “I look at who raised the most money and vote for somebody else!” That might work, but I just hope you vote for the person with the best ideas who is running without the puppet strings. But, if in doubt, try Dan’s suggestion.

Good luck—vote smart!