Since leaving the ranks of top Republican consultants in California, Dan Schnur has been one of the media's go-to independent analysts as director of USC’s Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics. For awhile he was also the head of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission. Now he is preparing to give up his hat as an uninvolved outside observer and run for office himself. Reports are that Schnur will run for secretary of state next year as an independent — he gave up his Republican Party card in 2011 and re-registered with no party preference. His campaign managers would be Democratic political consultant Darry Sragow and Republican Rob Stutzman, a former spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, he tells the LA Times:
His campaign would focus on limiting fundraising for state lawmakers, trying to engage younger voters and "rebuilding the political center in this state," Schnur said in an interview....
"If this campaign succeeds, I think you’ll see viable no-party-preference candidates running for legislative offices in two years and top-of-the ticket statewide offices two years after that," he said.
Schnur spent five years as a spokesman for Gov. Pete Wilson before serving as communications director for U.S. Sen. John McCain's 2000 presidential bid. He also was briefly a campaign manager for Richard Riordan's 2002 run for governor and did the same for Peter Ueberroth, who sought the job during the 2003 recall campaign.
For the past decade, Schnur has spent most of his time teaching.
The early profile on that race is that Secretary of State Debra Bowen is out next year due to term limits. State Sen. Alex Padilla, the former City Council president in Los Angeles, has said he is running on the Democratic side, along with state Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco and campaign reform advocate Derek Cressman. Pete Peterson, who runs the Davenport Institute at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, is in as a Republican.
Frank Stoltze at KPCC adds this on Schnur:
Schnur, 50, argues the person who runs the state’s elections should be unaffiliated with either party. He uses a baseball analogy to say why that’s important.
"You don’t want the umpire wearing a Dodgers or Giants jersey," he says. "By the same token, you want the person in charge of the election process to be one who is not beholden to the Democrats or the Republicans."
Schnur’s ties to the Republican Party run deep. He got his start in politics as a volunteer for President Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign. He went on to be chief spokesman for former Governor Pete Wilson and national director of communications for the 2000 presidential campaign of Arizona Senator John McCain.
He says he switched his registration to "No Party Preference" nearly three years ago to be a more credible advocate for campaign finance reform – another issue close to his heart.
"I’m not naive," Schnur says of the role of campaign cash. "I worked in politics for many years. But I hadn’t remembered money taking up so much time and being such a preoccupation."