Well, anyone hoping for a quick budget passage (in the Senate anyway) can now take two steps backward. With Sam Blakeslee’s big win over John Laird Tuesday, Democrats are still a couple of votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a budget. And since nobody knows what the district is going to look like in two years after districts are redrawn, it might be hard to count on Blakeslee’s vote the way Steinberg had comes to expect the vote of his predecessor, Abel Maldonado. But is it possible that Tuesday’s loss was not a loss at all? There are lots of ways to spin an electoral defeat. And bonus points go to Steinberg for his take on this week’s Blakeslee victory and what it might mean for Lou Correa. “Clearly, Senate Democrats would have preferred a win.  But, by mounting a highly competitive campaign and forcing Republican groups to aggressively spend down scarce dollars playing defense to protect one of their own seats, we have significantly strengthened our position heading into the critical November election,” he said. “For that, we owe John Laird and his supporters a full measure of gratitude.” Ah, so Laird was a decoy! It’s true, Republican fundraising has been struggling. Take a look at Malcolm Maclachlan’s front-page story this week for more details. But it’s also true that the GOP is just one day’s worth of Meg Whitman’s interest on her savings account away from being back in full financial fettle. We’ll check back on this one in a couple of months…

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