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P&F 2006 Campaign News Coverage
Local man seeks Lt. Gov. spot
By: JOHN HUNNEMAN - Staff Writer
MURRIETA -- Don't tell Stewart A. Alexander he's not going to be California's next lieutenant governor.
"I'm in this race to win," he said. "I want the people of California to benefit from what I have to offer."
A Murrieta resident since 1999, Alexander is the Peace and Freedom Party's candidate to replace incumbent Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.
Bustamante, a Democrat, cannot seek re-election to his current office because of term limits. He is, instead, running to be the state's insurance commissioner.
The front-runners in the upcoming primary election for the state's second highest constitutional office among Democrats are state Sens. Liz Figueroa of Fremont and Jackie Speier of San Mateo and current California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. The Republican party front-runner is state Sen. Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks.
"It's like a big club up there in Sacramento," Alexander said. "Californian's do not have a voice in state government. I want to offer them that voice."
Alexander is running unopposed for his party's nomination in the June 6 election, as is Peace and Freedom gubernatorial candidate Janice Jordan of San Diego. In 2004, Jordan was the party's candidate for U.S. vice president.
"Since I have no one running against me, my campaign will really begin after the primary," Alexander said.
The party line
The Peace and Freedom Party was founded in 1967 as a left-wing organization opposed to the war in Vietnam. The following year, the party nominated Black Panther co-founder Eldridge Cleaver to run for president. Four years later, pediatrician and anti-war spokesman Dr. Benjamin Spock was the party's presidential nominee.
As of April 7, there were 58,791 people registered with the Peace and Freedom party in California, amounting to 0.38 percent of the state's 15.6 million registered voters. That percentage was even lower in Riverside County, where 0.28 percent of registered voters -- 2,042 people -- have signed on as party members.
Despite the low numbers, Alexander said he senses a shift in the political winds as people become increasingly disenchanted with the major parties.
It was that breeze that moved Alexander, a registered Democrat for more than 20 years, to join the Peace and Freedom party. His wife, Vicki Alexander, a lifelong Republican, also soured on her party and signed on with the left-leaning organization.
"After a while, I started to see there wasn't much difference between the Republican and Democratic agendas," Stewart Alexander said. "One of the good things about our liberal party is we are willing to listen to other views. They gave me the freedom to express myself."
About a year and a half ago, Alexander indicated to Peace and Freedom organizers his interest in running for elected office.
"I wanted to see where I could be most effective for the party and for the government," Alexander said.
The party decided that would be in Sacramento, he said.
Not his first race
Alexander is not a political novice. In 1984, he was an active supporter and campaigner in Rev. Jesse Jackson's bid to win the Democratic party nomination for president. In 1989, he was a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, finishing a distant seventh behind incumbent Tom Bradley in the nonpartisan race.
Alexander is currently the executive director of the African American Civil Liberties Union and is a former vice president of the Ingelwood-South Bay branch of the NAACP. In addition, he is a former radio political talk show host on KTYM-AM in Inglewood.
Originally from Newport News, Va., Alexander, 54, has lived in California for about 40 years. He served in the Air Force reserve for several years, including duty at March Air Force Base in Riverside.
It was his marriage to Vicki, who has lived in Southwest County for 17 years, that brought him to Murrieta.
Alexander works for Xploracity.com, a Temecula Internet company that provides online guides and search information about businesses, real estate, tourists spots and community events in Southwest County.
Vicki Alexander's son, Rusty Bray, is a senior at Vista Murrieta High School. Stewart's son, Adam Alexander, 32, is in the U.S. Army and recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.
"He's in explosive ordnance disposal," Alexander said. "It's a very dangerous job."
Despite party and personal opposition to the war in Iraq, Alexander said he is "fine" with his son serving in the military.
"I don't support the war," he said. "But I do support my son."
Early in the campaign
Driving around largely conservative Southwest County in a bright yellow pickup with a decal asking people for their votes emblazoned on the back window, Alexander said he often gets a thumbs up or a honk from motorists.
"I think this community is changing," he said. "A lot of people have moved in and they're bringing in different views."
If elected, Alexander said he would create jobs in California by encouraging the automobile industry to build cars in the state.
He also supports a repeal of the state's three-strikes law, favors affirmative action in employment and would seek to provide what he calls a "quality education" for California's children.
"I believe it's possible to provide a free college education for our kids," he said.
The campaigning he's done thus far has largely been online. Alexander's Web site is www.salt-g.com.
"I've been getting the word out on the Internet," he said. "There, I can express myself to thousands of people, not only in California but across the country."
Alexander said the feed back so far has been positive.
"A lot of young people have been very supportive and plan to register with the (Peace and Freedom) party," he said.
Following the June 6 primary, he plans to campaign more actively.
"(The other candidates) will know that I'm someone they'll have deal with in the race for lieutenant governor," Alexander said.
Contact staff writer John Hunneman at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2603, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This page was last updated on 14 May 2006.