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Christine McGuire's political career is off to a convoluted start

By John Yewell

DURING THE SELECTION PROCESS a year ago to replace previous District Attorney Art Danner, McGuire told Metro Santa Cruz that she would run in the March 2000 election if she wasn't appointed. Then on Sept. 13, McGuire suddenly announced she would run against her boss. The move came days after Ruiz demoted her from her position as manager of the Victim Witness and Violent Crimes Unit. McGuire told reporters that she had told Ruiz after his appointment in February that she would not run against him as long as he kept her as one of his managers.

She accused Ruiz of reneging on a McGuire-negotiated resolution to a dispute with local defense attorneys that had arisen over Sheriff's Department line-up procedures. But in another reversal just two weeks later, McGuire changed her mind again and dropped out of the race, saying her late entry had made running difficult and that she was afraid of splitting the vote between her two main rivals, Ruiz and former Deputy District Attorney Kate Canlis. She said she did not want to prevent one from winning a clear majority in March, to avoid a run-off in November. But with former DA Peter Chang on the ballot that could happen anyway. Chang, who has not mounted a genuine campaign, faces felony witness-tampering charges.

Throwing her hat into the ring late didn't seem to be a factor when she announced on Nov. 5 that she would run for supervisor instead. Then, bringing her nascent and quixotic political career full circle, McGuire announced the following day that she would endorse Ruiz for DA--the man she'd twice opposed for the job.

To confuse matters still further, McGuire has switched political parties twice. She grew up a in Democratic household in Cleveland, but later--she's not clear on when--became a Republican because of the party's law-and-order stance. Then last Nov. 17 she told a meeting of the Democratic Women's Club that she was now a Democrat. She told Metro Santa Cruz recently that her decision was not merely expedient, but in response to the Republican Party's having moved too far to the right.

But that move happened over a decade ago. Recently, the Republicans have been edging back towards the center.

It's enough to give a political observer whiplash.

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From the January 26-February 2, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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