We could fuck up his campaign for half of what she’s making

In this week’s North Coast Journal, Team Gags’ high-priced fake campaign manager learns what reporters do for a living.

Originally thought to be a priceless work of art, this photo turned out instead to be, like its subject, a total and complete fraud.

Arts Gallegos

Inside District Attorney Paul Gallegos’ campaign headquarters — 321 3rd St. in Old Town Eureka — Arts Alive! patrons were exhibiting their native behavior: milling about, socializing, vaguely gazing at paintings while gnoshing delicate mouthfuls of crackers and oily salami. At the counter of the former coffee house, a woman absentmindedly ran her fingers through a basket of campaign buttons while chatting with the volunteers on the other side. In the course of their banter she offered an endorsement as tepid as the San Pellegrino orbiting the room in clear plastic cups: “Regardless of personal feelings,” the woman said blithely, “I don’t think we have another candidate who’s a better option.”

Impassioned, full-throated endorsements have fallen off a bit since 2004, when Humboldt County’s DA fought off a recall challenge bankrolled by villainous Texan Charles Hurwitz’s Pacific Lumber Company. Such an enthusiasm decline is to be expected, argued Gallegos’ campaign manager Natalynne DeLapp. “It’s the nature of the job,” she said after side-stepping some new arrivals. “If you’re in the court system, you’re not going to be happy.” And with roughly 12,000 cases prosecuted each year, that makes for plenty of unhappy voters. Still, as the campaign swings into full gear (phone-banking sessions are now happening four days per week) DeLapp is cautiously optimistic — though with four candidates in the field, she admitted that a runoff is very likely. “It’s gonna be between Allison Jackson and Gallegos,” she predicted confidently.

DeLapp casts challenger Paul Hagen in the role of potential spoiler. The former environmental prosecutor could split the progressive vote, she said before launching into a litany of reasons why he shouldn’t. “I don’t know who told him to run,” she said bitterly. Regardless, Gallegos has more than seven years of experience. “Paul’s grown into this job,” DeLapp said. “We’ve trained him on our dime, [and] he needs to be able to continue.”

Gallegos himself stayed busy pressing palms and greeting supporters as they filed through the room, which was adorned with paintings of ocean waves. DeLapp pulled him from a jovial huddle to speak to a reporter. Yes, he said, a November runoff is likely inevitable. “Numerically you’d have to expect that.” And he agreed that whether his experience serves as an asset or a liability will depend largely on each voter’s experience with the court system. Personal grudges are unavoidable, though. “That’s part of the job,” Gallegos said, “which is why I focus on doing [the job] rather than keeping it.”

— Ryan Burns
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