Remember when the super posse relentlessly chased Butch and the Kid through towns, across plains and up mountains in the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? The pair repeatedly asked aloud: “Who are those guys?” Political junkies were asking the same question election night when two unknowns – David Evans and Ronald Gold – were in the thick of things in the Controller and Attorney General’s races, respectively.

Evans, a Republican accountant and chief financial officer for businesses in California and Nevada is watching the count on late ballots to see if he can break into the top two. As of this writing, Evans is in third place with 21.6% of the vote, one-tenth of a point behind Democrat and former Assembly Speaker John Perez for a run-off spot, and one-tenth of a point ahead of another Democrat, Betty Yee from the Board of Equalization. Evans believes in spending the taxpayers’ funds frugally. He also thinks that a professional accountant be required to fill the Controller’s office, just as the Attorney General must be a trained lawyer.

Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin leads the race. If Evans leapfrogs Perez, two Republicans could battle for a statewide office in California in this November election.

How many of you had that in your brackets?

Ronald Gold, another Republican, appears to have captured the second spot behind incumbent Attorney General, Kamala Harris. Gold is a former Deputy Attorney General who believes in going after political corruption, legalizing and taxing marijuana and finding a path to citizenship for undocumented workers not charged with a crime. As Republican standard-bearer in the AG’s race, he would carry different positions than those often associated with the GOP.

*          *          *

From our “What’s in a Name Department,” sorry to report both Burt Lancaster and Zachary Taylor finished second. Republican (G.) Burt Lancaster finished second to incumbent Democrat Nora Campos in a two-person race in Assembly District 27. Lancaster had 30.6% of the vote. Republican Zachary Taylor had a similar fate finishing second in a two-person race to incumbent Adrin Nazarian. Taylor tallied 29.5% of the vote.

Expect both to also share similar fates in November.

*          *          *

In Los Angeles, democracy appears to be dying. The County reported a miserable 13% turnout at the polls on Election Day. And while the folks of Los Angeles seemed to be ignoring the democratic right to vote, they are hailing Kings – Los Angeles Kings that is.

As KABC (Los Angeles) radio personality, Doug McIntrye said when I was on his show earlier this week, maybe more people would pay attention to politics if it were conducted like hockey, with combatants duking it out and pulling sweaters over their opponents heads. We already know a few state senators have been relegated to the penalty box.

*          *          *

On a personal note, congratulations to two of my former students at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy who, as Theodore Roosevelt put it, stepped into the arena. Todd Royal, a Republican, finished behind Mike Gatto with 32.6% of the vote in Assembly District 43 and will move on to November. Barbi Appelquist, a Democrat, did not fare as well in the highly competitive 26th Senate District. To paraphrase Roosevelt, spend yourself in a worthy cause; in the end you will know best the triumph of high achievement, and at the worst, if you fail, at least fail while daring greatly. Bravo for daring greatly.