Strange election fellows

Bret Daniels suggested in June that he would try to oust one of the council members who supported his censure

Porsche Middleton

Porsche Middleton

Can an African-American woman break the all-white, mostly-male makeup of the Citrus Heights City Council? That question has added intrigue to a small-town election featuring five candidates.

Planning commissioner Porsche Middleton and Treston Shull, a labor law compliance representative, are competing with council members Steve Miller, Jeannie Bruins and Albert J. Fox for three available—but currently occupied—seats this November. Unseating incumbents is typically tough, but Middleton stands a better chance than she did two years ago, when she was one of eight candidates scrambling for two council seats.

A transplant from Louisville, Ken., Middleton was appointed to the planning commission after her unsuccessful council run, where the former engineer currently weighs in on transportation and housing issues. Her commissioner status became a flashpoint in this election, when Middleton submitted it as the title for her candidate’s statement and the city clerk’s office initially kept it off. A county judge reinstated the title.

One of the people Middleton lost out to in 2016 was Brett Daniels, a polarizing figure who has endorsed her candidacy this time. Daniels was the subject of a police inquiry last year, after he sent an email to an old high school flame who says Daniels’ past attempts to get in touch verged on stalking. Police determined no crime was committed, but the allegation became public during Daniels’ run for sheriff earlier this year and prompted a public censure by the rest of the council. Daniels, who denies doing anything wrong, called the censure “unnecessary.”

“They were out of line, especially Jeannie Bruins,” he told SN&R a day after the vote. “She was horrible about what she said. … When she did that, to me, she showed her colors.”

Back then, Daniels suggested next month’s election would be his payback.

“And November, we’ll hopefully replace one of them,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the November election.”

Asked about Daniels’ support and the allegations against him, some of which include claims that he made other women uncomfortable before he was fired by the sheriff’s department, Middleton treads carefully.

“Harassment is definitely not OK,” she said. “But I don’t know. My personal experience [with him] does not reflect that.”

While Middleton described Daniels’ endorsement as beneficial because he’s a Republican and she’s a Democrat, his name isn’t featured on the endorsements page of her candidate’s website.