Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Setting up for the Fall (Pun intended)

The election results from one of the bigger days in primaries across the country were interesting but probably not dispositive.  Blanche Lincoln survived a strong challenge from Arkansas' Lieutenant Governor but looks like she will not be as successful against her GOP challenger in the Fall.   Most pundits argue that the GOP nominated the weaker of two candidates against the Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid.  Sharon Angle defeated a more establishment candidate.  But I believe, as I do in Kentucky, that we will have to wait and see about whether GOP voters made the right choice.

In California, money talked in some areas and did not in others.  The GOP candidate for Governor, Meg Whitman, spent a bundle of cash against her opponent - who spent a smaller bundle.  In the Senate campaign, Carly Fiorina spent a bundle of cash against a candidate that I personally favored but who ran a relatively ineffective campaign.   But in the propositions money seems to have failed.  Two measures, both of which I favored, but which were sponsored by PG&E and Mercury Insurance went down to defeat.  At the same time an absurd proposal to create a limited experiment for public funding of campaigns by taxing lobbyists (which I opposed) went down in flames.  When will the lefties understand that Californians don't like public financing even if it is financed by taxes on a group they don't like?

In the Governor's race, to the extent that the Lieutenant Governor is an aid to the campaign - both parties put up strong candidates.   But the democrat's candidate may actually reinforce the very image that their candidate for Governor wants to avoid.   Gavin Newsome is a polarizing figure.   I also think he is a light weight.   But the real campaign for Governor will come down to whether Meg Whitman is up to the challenge.  Money clearly talked in the GOP primary but so did her campaign.   Brown will have all the resources he needs, including a boatload of support from the unions.   As I suggested a few days ago, from my perspective, Whitman would do well in the short lull after the primary to study the Chris Christie playbook.

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