However, in the other key Senate battlegrounds of Tennessee and Missouri, Democratic candidates either trail or are tied. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. has fallen behind Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker in Tennessee among likely voters by eight points. State Auditor Claire McCaskill is tied in Missouri with Senator Jim Talent.
With just one week to go until the election, the shapes of things to come in California are coming further into focus. While Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Governor Jerry Brown enjoy wide leads in their respective races for governor and attorney general, and share a number of important views, more closely contested statewide races are becoming more defined.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown share important views.
Private tracking polls in the Democratic and Republican parties show the hotly contested races for lieutenant governor, controller, and secretary of state still within the margin of polling error. But in the race for state insurance commissioner, moderate Republican Steve Poizner has taken a statistically significant lead in the high single digits over his Democratic rival, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante.
Poizner, a super-rich Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is heavily outspending Bustamante, who is also a former Assembly speaker, racking up newspaper endorsements around the state and the backing of consumer advocate Harvey Rosenfield. On Sunday, Poizner even picked up the endorsement of La Opinion, the state’s leading Spanish language newspaper. Since Bustamante is one of the nation’s highest ranking Latino politicians, that was especially striking.
But Bustamante was wiped out by Schwarzenegger when he ran for governor in the 2003 recall election, resorting to taking millions in illegal donations from casino tribes in the campaign, a move which damaged his reputation. And Poizner, a great favorite of Schwarzenegger’s, has a good profile for a statewide California election, even for a regulatory office generally regarded as natural Democratic turf.
The other three highly competitive statewide races remain just that. The Democrats and Republicans vying for lieutenant governor, state controller, and secretary of state all remain in statistical dead heats.
In the race for controller, a high-ranking source says Republican Tony Strickland is getting nearly a million dollars more in help from Intuit, the tax software firm that had already spent a million on his behalf. On the other hand, another group of casino tribes is said to be moving to counter the help Strickland is getting from the “Team 2006” casino tribes with money for Democrat John Chiang.
Schwarzenegger and Brown are not in dead heats. The current moderate Republican governor and former Democratic governor now lead in their respective races for governor and state attorney general by landslide margins.
Brown’s lead over Republican Chuck Poochigian is wider than that of Schwarzenegger over Democrat Phil Angelides.
In addition to having near locks on the two most powerful state constitutional offices, Schwarzenegger and Brown — as seen in the NWN video above — both speak to many of the same themes and issues.
These are themes which define an emerging independent spirit that could transcend the conventional boundaries of the two parties.
In separate appearances, the current governor of California and former action superstar and the current Oakland mayor and former governor of California each speaks of the value and virtues of bipartisanship. Each focuses on the future and California’s role in defining it, with heavy emphasis on Washington’s failure in looking to the future.
Schwarzenegger and Brown both strongly emphasize the fight against climate change and global warming and the promise of stem cell research, and California’s leading role on those issues. Each sees California now and in the future as the seedbed of new technologies that have in the past and will in the future create new industries.
Both eschew the Democrat/Republican hyperpartisanship that has defined the current political era.
** TRACKS. Trailing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides campaigned today with Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. Meanwhile, outstanding questions at the top of the ticket: Which will have the bigger victory margin? Arnold ’03 or Arnold ’06? Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor or Jerry Brown for Attorney General?
** Former President Bill Clinton stars in his third TV ad for Proposition 87, the oil extraction tax for alternative fuels research. “Think of the children with asthma, they’re paying the price for our addiction to oil,” he says, in this second ad drawn from his LA rally speech before a crowd of 5000.
Clinton appears again in California for Prop 87 on Wednesday at 5 PM in a rally in front of San Francisco City Hall. The oil industry has already spent over $75 million to defeat Prop 87. Proponents have raised under $50 million, $43.5 million from Hollywood producer Steve Bing.
UPDATE: Steve Bing has just contributed another $6 million to Yes on 87, bringing his total to $49.5 million. Google co-founder Sergey Brin just kicked in $1 million, matching the $1 million Google co-founder Larry Page contributed earlier. On the other side, the oil companies are now up to $85 million for No on 87.
** Hunter for President. No, not the TV detective played by former Rams great defensive end Fred Dryer, this is San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter, current chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He announced today that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Hunter, a strong advocate of the border fence and former ally of disgraced former Congressman Duke Cunningham, would be a distinct longshot in the race and has not previously figured in presidential speculations. He was swept into office in the Reagan presidential landslide of 1980. If Democrats take the House next week, as many expect, Hunter will lose his powerful committee chairmanship.
UPDATE: The start of Schwarzenegger’s webcast from the Reagan Library has been delayed an hour. It is now scheduled to begin at 11:45 AM.
** John Garamendi and John Chiang, the embattled Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor and state controller, respectively, are holding press conferences today to hit their opponents. Garamendi will be in San Francisco at noon, appearing with California Institute for Regenerative Medicine chairman Robert Klein and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to criticize Republican Tom McClintock for his opposition to stem cell research and point out that the lieutenant governor gets five appointees to the oversight committee for California’s landmark stem cell research program. Chiang will be criticizing Republican nominee Tony Strickland for his heavy backing from casino tribes seeking favorable tax treatment.
CORRECTION: John Chiang is actually going after Intuit, the software giant and maker of TurboTax. Present at the press conference will be Stanford Professor Joe Bankman, the originator of the ReadyReturn program that Intuit is trying to kill by spending $1 million in the state controller’s race.
** 2:15 PM UPDATE: A high-ranking source says tax software leader Intuit is now up around $2 million in its independent expenditure drive to defeat John Chiang and elect Tony Strickland as California state controller.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s closing TV spot of the 2003 recall campaign.
With tracking polls holding steady, talk is turning to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prospective victory margin and to down ballot races and propositions, where several remain tight. Schwarzenegger is closing out his 2006 campaign with a TV ad launched last Friday. Like his closer in the 2003 recall campaign, it is positive and uplifting. But the two ads, shown above and below, reflect very different circumstances.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s closing TV spot of the 2006 re-election campaign.
Before comparing Schwarzenegger’s re-election closer with his first election closer, there have been down ballot developments, in the closely fought races for lieutenant governor and state insurance commissioner.
Democratic sources acknowledge that John Garamendi, after taking a 10-point lead in public polling over Republican Tom McClintock in their race for lieutenant governor, had fallen a little behind in private polling. But now they say that, although the race is still a statistical dead heat, Garamendi is slowly moving up.
If there were more resources behind Garamendi, both in his official campaign and in party and labor independent expenditures on his behalf, it might be happening more quickly. But Insurance Commissioner Garamendi has not been a big fundraiser, and party and labor efforts until recently have focused on trying to jump start the campaign of trailing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.
Democrats had entertained hopes that an earlier ad depicting McClintock, the state’s most prominent conservative politician, as being outside California’s mainstream with his positions on social and environmental issues might put him away. It did not. Nevertheless, they are feeling a bit better with the overall effort kicking into gear. Republicans say McClintock has a slight lead, within the margin of polling error.
In more unalloyed news for Republicans, moderate Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Poizner, running what has been a close race for state insurance commissioner against Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, yesterday picked up the endorsement of California’s leading Spanish language newspaper, La Opinion.
Since Bustamante is one of America’s highest ranking Latino elected officials, that’s striking. However, he has been damaged goods since the recall, when as the replacement Democratic nominee he was crushed by Schwarzenegger after improperly moving millions in Indian casino tribe donations into his campaign. In this race, he has compounded matters by at first raising money from the insurance companies he would regulate, then saying he would give it back (after it turned out not to be a lot), and running TV ads emphasizing his dramatic weight loss.
Speaking of drama, Schwarzenegger’s closing TV ad for the re-election campaign is less dramatic than his closing TV ad for the recall campaign.
It’s called “33.” That’s the current number of newspapers that have endorsed him over trailing Democratic candidate Phil Angelides. As the names of endorsing newspapers crawl across the bottom of the screen and the announcer reads some of the laudatory things written about the former action superstar as governor, pull quotes from the endorsements are superimposed on the screen over a spectacular montage of California scenes. With appropriate music, of course, which you’ve heard throughout the fine ad campaign produced for Schwarzenegger. The announcer manages to work in the word “bipartisan” twice in only 30 seconds.
It’s a very effective ad, which seeks to soothe and reassure as it inspires. Media consultant Fred Davis put it together with campaign manager Steve Schmidt, chief strategist Matthew Dowd, and senior strategist Sarah Simmons.
The former Mr. Universe has pulled off the biggest sweep of newspaper endorsements for California governor in my lifetime. Among well-known newspapers, Angelides has only two endorsements. La Opinion, the Spanish language newspaper in Los Angeles, which could hardly endorse Schwarzenegger given his continued opposition to drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the most left-wing weekly newspaper in the state. Angelides had also been blitzed in the battle for newspaper endorsements by his narrowly defeated primary rival, ex-eBay honcho-turned state Controller Steve Westly, winning only the latter mentioned paper and two dailies, his hometown Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times, which went at Schwarzenegger hammer and tong in the recall campaign. Schwarzenegger, of course, won the endorsements of those two dailies for the general election.
The ad style was very different in the recall campaign. The biggest media outlet in the state, the Los Angeles Times, was thoroughly opposed to the action movie superstar’s candidacy. And so was most of the California political establishment. Schwarzenegger was viewed as an interloper (Times headlines referred to him as “Actor”), the recall a “threat to democracy” (many more people participated in it than in the regular election).
The campaign itself was quite tumultuous. Schwarzenegger, aided by a message advisory memo from media consultant Don Sipple sent over the night before, had shocked most of the world with his candidacy, announced at a taping of the Tonight Show.
Originally intending to run in 2006, Schwarzenegger parachuted into the race just two months before the recall election, fresh, if you will, from the global intricacies of launching the third installment of his Terminator movie franchise. His fortunes waxed, waned, and waxed again as he hurriedly brought himself up to speed on state issues, acted as ringmaster with an international media circus, fought complex political crosscurrents, and dealt with sensational personal attacks.
His closing TV ad, devised by Sipple and narrated by action movie figure and distinguished character actor Clancy Brown (Starship Troopers and Highlander, as well as Carnivale and Shawshank Redemption, and a congressman’s son and St. Alban’s grad, to boot), reflected this tumult.
Where the current Team Arnold presents Schwarzenegger as a steady, somewhat visionary figure, reassuring by virtue of all those newspaper endorsements (amidst the beautiful montage of California scenes, Schwarzenegger himself appears only briefly at the end), the recall spot, entitled “Momentum,” focuses almost entirely on Schwarzenegger.
In contrast to this election’s closer, the 2003 closer presents Schwarzenegger as a dynamic rather than reassuring figure, almost as a movement leader. Indeed, Schwarzenegger had become the face of the recall, which would ultimately succeed or fail on his appeal.
Where this year, Schwarzenegger has had a big lead for months (having seized it with a decisive series of moves after the June primary), and is running to hold onto that lead, in 2003, Schwarzenegger, who had been locked in a close race prior to the only debate he participated in, was still driving for a big win.
Which he got, in landslide fashion. The recall of Governor Gray Davis passed with an 11-point margin of victory and on the multi-candidate replacement ballot, Schwarzenegger walloped replacement Democratic nominee Cruz Bustamante, the lieutenant governor, by a 17-point margin.
This year, although Schwarzenegger has been carrying a lead roughly the same as his 2003 margin of victory, most observers expect Angelides to at last pick up some of the Democratic vote which has eluded him for months, reducing the size of a Schwarzenegger landslide.
I’m going to analyze the ad and compare it with the very different but also positive and uplifting ad which closed out his campaign in the 2003 recall election. I don’t believe that ad is available online, but I have it on a videocassette reel. If I have the time and energy, I will do some somewhat involved techno mumbo jumbo and present it through NWN.
Is the new Phil Angelides TV ad — in which he walks toward the camera through a sea of Arnold cutouts, all of which are shorter than he, unlike the photos and footage of the two you saw from the debate, and talks about how Schwarzenegger can’t be trusted — his final ad? Given how his message has bounced around, probably not, although his money situation will be a factor.
** Monitor global and national energy prices via Bloomberg. Word that the OPEC production cut will be less than advertised and indications of strong demand for heating oil as the weather turns colder are keeping crude oil prices around $60 a barrel.
** John Grisham: “I am just shocked at the idea the Allen campaign would be this desperate. This is a clear sign of a desperate campaign if they plow through novels trying to find evidence of character. The old saying is ‘everything is grist for the writer’s mill.’ Every person you see, every country you visit, every bizarre, vile, repulsive act could one day be in a novel. That is not reflective of your character as an author; it is reflective of what you witnessed as someone looking for material.” from the Washington Post
The former Mr. Universe has pulled off the biggest sweep of newspaper endorsements for California governor in my lifetime. It’s especially striking in that many of these papers would not endorse him when he was elected in the tumultuous 2003 recall. It’s even more striking given the criticism he received from these newspapers just a year ago during his unsuccessful special election.
Angelides, to my knowledge, has only two newspaper endorsements. La Opinion, the Spanish language newspaper in Los Angeles, which could hardly endorse Schwarzenegger given his continued opposition to drivers license for illegal immigrants, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the most left-wing weekly newspaper in the state. Angelides had also been blitzed in the battle for newspaper endorsements by his narrowly defeated primary rival, ex-eBay honcho-turned state Controller Steve Westly, winning only the latter mentioned paper and two dailies, his hometown Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times, which went at Schwarzenegger hammer and tong in the recall campaign. Schwarzenegger, of course, won the endorsements of those two dailies for the general election.
Last night, the Drudge Report, which is the main conduit being used by the Allen campaign to inject this material into the media, splashed the scene, in all its explicitness, on the front page as “Allen’s Revenge.” That will not be the practice of NWN.Matt Drudge has since toned down his front page, but this is still the screaming headline there. The principal novel in question, incidentally, received a strong review from the Wall Street Journal. One of its principal endorsers was Senator John McCain, Webb’s fellow Vietnam vet and the Republican frontrunner for president.
** It was former Senator Bob Kerrey vs. Senator John Kerry in Connecticut’s Senate race earlier this week. Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska governor and senator and presidential candidate, winner of the nation’s highest military award in the Vietnam War, the Medal of Honor, now president of the New School in New York, was there to help his old colleague, independent Senator Joe Lieberman. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, current Massachusetts senator and Silver Star winner in the Vietnam War, was there for trailing Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. Many Democratic senators have held back from the Lamont campaign, after rushing to endorse him in the aftermath of dramatic primary win over Lieberman last August. Only a few have contributed money to him. Lieberman looks like the winner now, despite all the hyperventilation over Lamont’s primary win. Kerry, in contrast, has been very active for Lamont, leading many to conclude that he hopes to curry netroots favor the 2008 presidential primaries.
With campaign finance reports showing an edge for Republicans in state races not involving Democrats Bill Lockyer or Jerry Brown, the focus shifts to independent expenditure efforts to save most down ballot statewide Democrats. One potential source is the prison guards union, which highly informed sources say will not run TV ads helping trailing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.
California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) officials did not comment, but these informed sources say the long anticipated TV campaign blasting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will not occur. In August, the union ran a hard-hitting ad, seen here, on a limited basis in selected markets.
It was viewed as a shot across the governor’s bow, and as a preview of the sort of tough and potentially effective advertising he and his team could anticipate if the union backed Angelides, which it went on to do. The union bought $5 million of TV advertising time for the last two weeks of the campaign (some of which it has already given up) and said it could all go to helping Angelides by attacking Schwarzenegger. Indeed, there were intimations of much more, perhaps $10 million to $15 million, and Team Arnold braced itself accordingly.
But Schwarzenegger was not intimidated and the stalled contract negotiations between his administration and the prison guards union, which turned in large part on union influence in prison management, did not move forward. With their contract in limbo, union leaders opted to endorse Angelides, with whom the union has had a longstanding relationship. It was while Angelides was state Democratic chairman in the early 1990s that the party pursued a fateful alliance with the CCPOA. He and his political director, Bob Mulholland, formed a working relationship with then CCPOA chief Don Novey. This alliance reached its ultimate fruition in the administration of former Governor Gray Davis, who was elected with the help of a large CCPOA independent expenditure campaign and granted his backers a highly lucrative, and ultimately very controversial, contract.
However, with Schwarzenegger holding a big lead — forget what Angelides campaign officials said yesterday about the deficit being in single digits, that is not what private Democratic polling shows — and with the union itself at the center of controversy in a federal court report on the prisons crisis, the guards union had an important decision to make. Make like the charge of the light brigade, or avoid further enmity, conserve resources, and perhaps redeploy them.
It is to that redeployment of resources that down ballot Democratic candidates look with hope. As well they might, for the Republican side has mostly gotten the jump on the Democrats in terms of party and independent expenditure help for the down ballot.
Until recently, the Democratic Party and organized labor have been preoccupied with propping up the Angelides candidacy. With their money, Angelides actually outspent Schwarzenegger on the air over the past month. But, despite being outspent, Schwarzenegger was not outgunned, and nothing changed in the race other than the increasingly impending end of the campaign.
In the down ballot races, prospective Attorney General Jerry Brown faces a Republican who is all but out of money. Prospective Treasurer Bill Lockyer faces a Republican who never actually conducted a campaign. They’re the two candidates with the most cash on hand. But the other four Democrats all face Republicans with financial advantages. They’re hoping the prison guards union can help redress those imbalances.
“In most election years, the Los Angeles Times Poll would be out in the field this week with a final look at the governor’s race and the other statewide offices and propositions. Not this year. I’m told that interviewers last week had been alerted as usual to set aside Oct. 25-30 for a California-wide poll. Then the word came down: cancelled. Apparently the LAT-Bloomberg partnership doesn’t include state polls, and the Times didn’t want to absorb the cost alone this time around. The source who emailed me, and requested anonymity, called the failure to do a final poll another surrender of Times influence in California. I called poll director Susan Pinkus, who referred my inquiry to managing editor Doug Frantz …”
Notwithstanding its continued enormous heft and reach, the influence of the LA Times is slip sliding away, due in part to the really swell way in which it is being run by its bean counting out-of-state corporado owners and in part to the emergence of a new media era.
UPDATE: But there will be an exit poll. Those are interesting, if very much after the fact. It would be useful to have a public poll before the election on all the down ballot and proposition races, although knowledge of the private polls makes that less necessary.
** Here is an interesting question. What is the Democratic Party doing spending several hundred thousand dollars for Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, in the process of going down before super-rich moderate Republican insurance commissioner candidate Steve Poizner? That is money that could help rescue other down ballot candidates with a real chance.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. After rising the last couple of days on signs that the OPEC production cutback would be less than advertised — suggested by the legendary former Saudi Oil Minister Sheik Zaki Yamani‘s London-based think tank — crude oil prices have slipped a bit back to $60 a barrel. Why? Signs of growing inventory in the US, itself perhaps a sign of slowing economic activity.
The new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll is extremely good news for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and extremely bad news for his trailing challenger, Treasurer Phil Angelides. Despite showing Democrats clearly preferred over Republicans in congressional preference, and President George W. Bush highly unpopular, Schwarzenegger leads Angelides by 18 points, 48% to 30%.
Schwarzenegger’s lead has actually gone up by one point in the last month, even though he has been outspent on TV advertising during the period by pro-Angelides forces. In addition, the poll shows the big bipartisan infrastructure bonds are on the bubble. The PPIC poll results reflect what has been long reported on NWN. Nine percent support minor party candidates, about half those choosing Green Peter Camejo.
The former action superstar is seen here in this NWN video of the landmark global warming bill signing on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.
Schwarzenegger leads among all important independent voters by a nearly two to one ratio. Among the men’s respective parties, Schwarzenegger has 86% of the Republican vote, despite his center/left tilt this year.
Angelides is still struggling to break 60% of the Democratic vote, which explains why he is still spending most of his time campaigning in Democratic strongholds. But he’s not running well there. In the PPIC poll, Schwarzenegger actually leads in the San Francisco Bay Area and is in a statistical tie in the Los Angeles area. Everywhere else in California, he leads by huge margins.
Crossover voters are going for Schwarzenegger, virtually none for Angelides. The former Mr. Universe has 21% of the Democratic vote; Angelides has only 4% of the Republican vote, which is just outside the poll’s margin of error of 3%.
Overwhelming majorities of voters say they are concerned about California’s infrastructure. But the infrastructure bonds seriously lag this general sentiment. None has improved in the last month. The transportation and education facilities initiatives have only 51% support. The levee bond has 53% support, with affordable housing, benefiting in the abstract from a favorable ballot description, has 56%. Proposition 84, the water and parks bond initiative placed on the ballot by petition, has only 42% support.
While Republicans are split or opposed to the measures, Democratic support lags what it should be. For example, the lynchpin $20 billion transportation initiative has only 57% support among Democrats. Among independents, support for the four bond initiatives emerging from the Legislature ranges from just over 50% to 55%, proving that the so far lagging bipartisan campaigning for the measures is greatly needed.
One reason that Schwarzenegger is holding up so spectacularly well with Republican voters despite his move back to the center/left on some key issues is that Republican voters are actually not so conservative as is usually supposed. Strong majorities of Republicans favor the moves against global warming and for raising the minimum wage.
As for Angelides, he has been successfully defined — and has defined himself — as a hyperpartisan Democrat unacceptable to any grouping of Republicans and not all that many independents. And with less than two weeks left in the campaign, he is, ironically, struggling with Democratic voters. Even though his entire campaign has been pitched to Democratic voters.
While an overwhelming majority of of Schwarzenegger supporters are satisfied with the choices in the governor’s race, Angelides supporters are far less satisfied. Republicans are much happier with their seemingly apostate candidate than Democratic voters are with their avowedly true blue standardbearer. 66% of Republicans say they are happy with the choices in the governor’s race; only 44% of Democrats say the same.