Democrat Rubio surprises Republican Cannella with campaign contribution

Posted by John Ellis on February 20, 2014 

It’s been a year, almost to the day, since Bakersfield Democrat Michael Rubio unexpectedly resigned from the state Senate, a decision that caused political ripples still being felt to this day.

Since then, Rubio has settled in to his government affairs job with Chevron Corp. And he's cleaned out his campaign bank account, taking it right down to zero, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

Not surprisingly, Rubio’s fellow Democrats — including Assembly Member Henry T. Perea of Fresno — were the beneficiaries of his generosity. Former staffer Willie Rivera, who last year ran a successful Bakersfield City Council campaign, got the most cash of all.

But so did one Republican — state Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres.

It was a $4,100 contribution — the maximum for an election — that not even Cannella was expecting.

“I went to my PO box, and there was a check from Michael,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”

Cannella said the two were close friends while Rubio was in the Senate. They socialized outside of the chamber. They’re still friends, Cannella said, though he said Rubio has kept his distance out of respect for a rule that he can’t lobby legislators for a year after leaving.

With that year up on Feb. 22, Cannella said he is looking forward to rekindling the friendship. In the meantime, he sent Rubio a text message thanking him for the contribution.

Rubio declined to comment.

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