SCARY THOUGHT OF THE DAY…. I decided quite a while ago that I simply wouldn’t mention dentist/lawyer/professional nutjob Orly Taitz, no matter what she said or did. The so-called “Birther Queen” is simply too ridiculous to even mention.

But now that Taitz may win the Republican nomination in California today for the secretary of state election, I guess it’s worth returning to the subject.

Taitz, you may recall, made a name for herself by filing frivolous lawsuits challenging President Obama’s eligibility. While the media found her lunacy entertaining for a while, judges were far less accommodating, and she’s racked up $20,000 in court fines from her “birther” cases.

Now, she wants to be California’s secretary of state, and her only opponent in the GOP primary is a retired football player who’s run a lackluster campaign. The party establishment is feeling a little nervous.

“It’d be a disaster for the Republican party,” says James Lacy, a conservative GOP operative in the state. “Can you imagine if [gubernatorial candidate] Meg Whitman and [candidate for Lt. Gov.] Abel Maldonado — both of whom might have a chance to win in November — had to run with Orly Taitz as secretary of state, who would make her cockamamie issues about Obama’s birth certificate problems at the forefront of her activities?”

“There is no Republican candidate for statewide office that would be willing to have her campaign with them,” says Adam Probolsky, a spokesman for the Orange County Republican Party.

But longtime California GOP strategist Allan Hoffenblum, who publishes the California Target Book, says a Taitz victory is entirely possible. “It will be a complete embarrassment if she wins, but these things can happen,” he said.

When California Tea Partiers held a major event for candidates in April, even they said Taitz was too extreme to participate.

We’ll probably learn tonight if Taitz wins the GOP nomination. If so, and she somehow manages to win in November, this apparent lunatic will be California’s top elections official.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.