Gaines, who is seeking to fill the seat vacated by her husband's election to the state Senate, is a marketing consultant for their family insurance company, Point West Insurance Associates, according to her campaign website. She is also involved in the family-run Gaines Ranch Partnership and has worked in sales and marketing for a medical supply company and for a workforce employment firm, according to her consultant and campaign site bio.
But Gaines' financial interest disclosure form attributes income from both ventures to the posts held by her husband, Republican Sen. Ted Gaines. And the statement of economic interest filed by Ted Gaines does not declare any income from his wife.
The discrepancy prompted John Allard, another Republican seeking the seat, to file a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court yesterday, charging that her approved ballot designation does not represent her "one of the primary, main or leading professional, vocational or occupational endeavors of the candidate" as required by law.
"Beth Gaines does not get to claim the ballot designation of 'small business woman' because her husband is a small businessman anymore than she should be able to claim that she is a state senator," Allard's campaign said in a press release.
Beth Gaines' campaign consultant Dave Gilliard said she is employed by the insurance company and is a partner in the ranch. He called the form statement a "clerical error" and said it would be amended to reflect that she was paid between $1,000 and $10,000 for her work at Point West Insurance Associates.
Gilliard dismissed Allard's challenge, saying "it's ironic that he would be raising this issue" because he refers to a business he and his wife run instead of his government service on the ballot.
Allard, a Roseville City Council member and former legislative staffer, is identifying himself as a "small independent businessman" based on his stake in a Placer County franchise of Molly Maid cleaning services. His name is listed on the company business license, according to business records.
Another Republican candidate on the ballot, Rob Matthews, came to Gaines' defense, calling the lawsuit ""off beam" and "frivolous."
"Ted and Beth are good people... They have been business owners for a long time in Sacramento County and she should be able to keep her ballot designation, no question about it," Matthews said in a statement released Wednesday evening.
Though the window for altering proposed ballot language has closed, Allard's campaign said they are still asking a judge to intervene because of the truncated special election schedule. Counties are set to start processing vote-by-mail ballots Feb. 11. A hearing has been scheduled for tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Eight candidates are running in a March 8 primary for the open seat. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a May 3 runoff election.
Click here to read the lawsuit.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, is sworn in as his wife, Beth Gaines, holds the bible for him in the Senate chambers by Superior Court Judge Donald J. Courrier on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee