Gov. Jerry Brown's political adviser, Steve Glazer, has been tapped to advise the California Chamber of Commerce's heavy-hitting political action committee in legislative races next year.
The chamber's JobsPAC, whose donors include insurance, oil, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, spent more than $9 million statewide last year, including opposing the elections of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, all Democrats. The chamber itself attacked Brown during the campaign, though it became largely supportive of the Democratic governor this year.
Glazer is expected to work only on matters involving Democratic candidates. Republican strategist Rob Stutzman will be the chamber's Republican adviser, though in districts where no Republican candidate is competitive, he said, he could end up working on a Democratic campaign. In state Senate races last year, the chamber supported Republicans Sam Blakeslee and Anthony Cannella and Democrats Juan Vargas and Lou Correa.
Earlier this year, when the chamber hired veteran Republican strategist Marty Wilson to oversee its campaign operations, chamber President Allan Zaremberg said in a statement that Wilson would "play a key role in CalChamber's focused efforts to identify and support pro-jobs candidates from both political parties who will work to improve California's economy."
The political action committee has traditionally relied on two strategists for each election, one from each party. In 2010, they were Darry Sragow, a Democrat, and the late Joe Shumate, a Republican.
Brown considers business support is significant to his bid to raise taxes, and he spent months this year courting chambers of commerce. Glazer's new involvement with the chamber could be an asset to Brown.
"If you share at least some of the governor's agenda, you can, in theory, help build support for his agenda in the Legislature," Sragow said. "You have a major opportunity to shape who's going to be there voting on the governor's agenda, and if there's a good working relationship between the business community and the governor's office, that's obviously very helpful to both."
Glazer will remain Brown's unpaid political adviser in the new year. He said this morning of his advisory role at JobsPAC, "I want to help elect pragmatic, common-sense leaders who will work to solve the big problems facing our state."