They both want to shake up the job, but the two candidates vying for secretary of state sparred Monday on a host of issues, from their resumes to Republicanism and beyond.
Democrat Alex Padilla and Republican Pete Peterson appeared Monday on KQED's Forum, one of several faceoffs in which the two men are participating during the runup to Nov. 4. And while the candidates agree on a number of issues -- mainly, that they both think there's a lot of room for improvement in the job of chief elections officer -- there was a stark difference in how they choose to see the choice facing voters.
Peterson, a newcomer candidate and current executive director of a Pepperdine University think tank, went to lengths to distance himself from the general Republican brand. In particular, Peterson said he does not support any efforts to require voters to show an ID at the polling place. Nor, he said, does he support any major crackdowns on allegations of voter fraud.
"The biggest challenge to democracy in California is not too many people voting illegally," said Peterson. "It's too many people not legally voting."
Those positions are in contrast to a number of GOP proposals floated both in the Legislature and in other states -- an independent streak Peterson spent the past weekend also talking about, declining to endorse GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari.