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Friday, August 08, 2003

Programs, Get Yer Programs!-Ya can't tell who's on da ballot withotta program! Who's in other than our Terminator?
Left:
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante Insurance Commish John Garamendi Green Candidate Peter Miguel Camajo Arianna Huffington
Right:
Bill Simon State Sen. Tom McClintock
Center:
1984 LA Olympic CEO Peter Ueberroth
So, how will this play out? Beats me, but I've got the afternoon off to think about it. At this point, there are four candidates on the left of Ahnold and two to his right. Garamendi's bio has him as a rancher-businessman, which might play to moderate voters who might not be ready to send a political rookie to the statehouse. However, the longer bio shows a stint in the Clinton Interior department as Deputy Secretary and in the Peace Corps and as a consumers-rights record in the state legislature. He's also an animal-rights backer, if this factoid is correct. There's enough of a neoliberal streak here where his handlers can spin him as an alternative to Ahnold, which might be the Democrat's plan. However, he looks more like his former boss, Bruce Babbitt, than a DLC type. What about Bustamante? He's in his second term as LG and served as a state assemblyman, making it up to Assembly Speaker in '96. However, he seems to be a fairly standard-brand liberal, if his official biography is any indication
In the Legislature and the Lieutenant Governor's office, Cruz has focused on education, the environment, health care and consumer protection issues. He worked with Republicans and Democrats to reduce class sizes in California schools, to enact a $1.7 billion middle-class tax cut, to reform welfare and to lower student fees at state universities and colleges.
Nothing there that deviates from the liberal songbook, except that they actually cut taxes at one point. Which, if any of the candidates on the left can break through to 30%? If I were the Democrats, I would market Bustamante as your classic liberal and market Garamendi as your New Democrat type, hoping that Garamendi drains votes away from Ahnold more than he drains votes away from Bustamante. The big question comes from the right. Bill Simon has his name in the ring, as does Tom McClintock. McClintock's run statewide in the past, losing a close race for State Comptroller in '94; a lot of conservatives think he might be the best choice in the race. I don't see Simon getting past Ahnold, but if Simon is smart, he could drop out and endorse McClintock, leaving only one major conservative in the race.
Mark's seat-of-the-pants prediction
Schwarzenegger 28
Bustamante 22
McClintock 17
Simon 14
Garamendi 7
Camajo 4
Huffington 3
Others 5
I'm not sure if conservatives should groan and back the Terminator. If Simon endorsed McClintock, there's a 30% conservative vote that could snag a plurality if the left can hold Ahnold in the high 20s.

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