Yolo County judicial candidate Clint Parish’s endorsement list continued to shrink Thursday, fallout from a pair of election ads Parish now says “reflected an aggressiveness that was not appropriate for this campaign.”
Parish’s boss, District Attorney Jeff Reisig, and the Woodland Professional Police Employees’ Association both withdrew their support for Parish’s candidacy, two days after Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto said he was no longer backing the prosecutor’s bid to unseat incumbent Judge Dan Maguire.
“Having considered all the facts and circumstances surrounding judicial candidate Clint Parish’s attack mail piece, including recent explanations from his campaign, I have decided to retract my endorsement of his candidacy,” Reisig told The Enterprise via email Thursday night.
Ted Ruiz, president of the Woodland Professional Police Employees’ Association, said the organization is no longer participating in the race “based on the recent events of the campaign.”
Meanwhile, the Yolo County Republican Central Committee has called a special meeting for this afternoon “to discuss and take possible action on our prior endorsement of Mr. Parish,” committee Chairman Mark Pruner said.
Parish’s endorsement list has been removed from his campaign website, and Parish said he has pulled all outgoing mail containing endorsers’ names.
“When I first decided to run for judge, I spoke to many people who were impressed with my experience as a criminal courtroom prosecutor. I built a very good endorsement list using those qualifications. I still have the experience that gained those endorsements,” Parish said in statement sent out late Thursday night, addressing his fleeing supporters.
“While I am not a great politician, I am a very good lawyer with significant criminal law experience and will make a very good judge,” he said.
Earlier Thursday, Parish expressed “regret” for the mailers and said he’s fired his campaign consultant — Park Consulting — which, according to Parish, led him to believe Maguire had close ties to a Russian bribery case while working for a Denver law firm in the 1990s, as one of the ads claimed.
Maguire has said he had no involvement in the case, and that he left the Denver firm years before a resulting lawsuit had been filed. The firm prevailed in the suit, Maguire noted.
“I don’t have any information that he worked on that case. I trusted their opinion, and I definitely shouldn’t have,” Parish said of his former consultants, though he acknowledged he reviewed and approved the ads before they were mailed out. “I take responsibility for the information in the mail piece.”
Aaron Park, the owner of Park Consulting, said while he stands behind the content of the mailers, “it’s people’s perception that matters more than the truth.”
“If no one else agrees with the way that I see things, then ultimately the responsibility lies with the adviser,” Park said. “Clint is one of the most honest candidates I’ve ever met. He needed to make a change, and I think he did the right thing.”
“I’m pleased Clint Parish has decided to take responsibility for the false attack against me in a recent campaign mail piece. It was the right thing to do,” Maguire said in a statement released this week. “However, he has yet to take responsibility for all the other untrue statements in the mailer.
“My reputation as a judge is important to me, and I would like all of the mistruths in the mailer retracted,” Maguire said.
Parish, meanwhile, said he is standing firm behind his claim that Maguire’s prior work as a deputy legal affairs secretary for former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger led to Maguire’s judicial appointment in 2010.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Parish said the campaign mailers “did more than show the nature of (Maguire’s) connection to the former governor,” an apparent reference to their implication that Maguire was involved in a partial prison-term commutation for the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez.
Maguire has denied that claim, saying he learned about the controversy — which occurred after he became a judge — in the newspaper.
“The point all along was that my opponent worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s legal team,” Parish told The Enterprise. “Just as I get heat for what the DA’s Office did, whether or not it was my case, that’s the type of work that they did.”
Parish said he doesn’t have immediate plans to apologize to Maguire, though “that might change at any moment. My campaign team at this point is discussing everything.”
He said he has reached out to Prieto, who withdrew his endorsement of Parish in response to the negative mailers — which included the sheriff’s name as a supporter — but Prieto has not returned his calls.
“My intended conversation with Ed Prieto would be to apologize for losing his confidence in a way he didn’t feel was appropriate,” Parish said, though he believes he’s not likely to win back Prieto’s endorsement.
“I think it’s so unlikely I’m not going to ask,” Parish said.
Prieto said his decision is final.
“I appreciate him reaching out,” Prieto said. “He may owe me a slight apology, but he certainly owes Dan Maguire — and every individual he sent that flier to — a huge apology.”
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene