Presidential Campaigns, California Style

October 12, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 2 Comments 

Getty/Darren McCollester

As Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has ramped up his rhetoric on the topic of illegal immigration in the 2012 race for the White House, you can forgive California political watchers if they feel a sense of déjà vu.

Not just on the issue itself: we actually heard almost the exact same words and phrases in the 2010 race for governor.
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Last Call For Primary 2010

June 9, 2010 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Politics, Elections · 1 Comment 

LOS ANGELES -- Well, that's all, folks. The long, bruising, and historically expensive 2010 primary election is now history. For all the bluster, it looks as though only a small portion of California's voters decided it was worth it to participate. And now, prepare for the general election contest to begin almost immediately.

A few late night bite-size bits on the campaign that has now drawn to a close.
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$68 Million. Nine Points.

May 19, 2010 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Money In Politics · 1 Comment 

Crank up some old George Jones, folks:

"Well, the race is on and here comes pride up the backstretch, heartaches are a-going to the inside..."

Tonight's statewide, nonpartisan poll is confirmation that the battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination is just that -- a battle. And for the newcomer who has now spent more personal cash than anyone in California history, it's an unwelcome battle.

Meg Whitman's lead over Steve Poizner now stands at just nine points, a dramatic downsizing from her 50 point lead in March and the clearest sign yet that Poizner's conservative rhetoric and relentless attacks seem to have worked.
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The Politics of Old Folks vs. Kids

May 5, 2010 · Filed Under Elections, Taxes · Comments Off 

I haven't written about any of the TV ads in the Republican gubernatorial primary so far because, well, they've all been pretty predictable: my opponent is liberal, my opponent is untrustworthy, yada yada. But an ad released this morning caught my eye as meriting a brief discussion.

The ad, from front-runner Meg Whitman, hones in on the Republican touchstone of tax increases and targets the financial fears of senior citizens, while carefully not saying what supposedly threatens those older folks: kids.

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GOP Debate: The Day After

May 3, 2010 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 2 Comments 

I bet Steve Poizner thought he was going to have a George Bush moment.

You might remember in one of the 2000 presidential debates, Bush was in the middle of answering a question when Al Gore suddenly walked over into Dubya's personal space and Bush, though caught a bit off guard, kept on message.

Maybe it was just me who instantly thought of that event during last night's debate in San Jose, when Meg Whitman got up off of her chair and approached Poizner's chair while he was standing and speaking. He quickly glanced at her (what are you doing, Meg?), only to find her... well... picking up the pitcher of water on his table and taking it over to hers to refill her glass.

Conflict avoided, thus leaving plenty of time for all sorts of other conflict which I, as the moderator for the debate, got to see up close.
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The Next Lite Guv

April 26, 2010 · Filed Under CA Government, CA Politics, People · 2 Comments 

Abel Maldonado will take the oath of office tomorrow to become California's 47th lieutenant governor. With that, he will make history in one way -- the first Republican* Latino statewide official since 1875 -- while hoping to avoid making history in another way -- possibly being one of the shortest serving 'Lite Guvs' in modern times.

Maldonado chats with reporters after being confirmed as the next 'Lite Guv.'Maldonado won confirmation from his fellow senators this afternoon, the final step on his 154 day odyssey to become second in command, filling the remaining months on the term of John Garamendi, who left Sacramento for Washington, D.C. last year.

But Maldo must soon win the job outright -- first in a June 8 primary and then, if successful, on November 2. Otherwise, he will serve just about eight months, just beating the record of John Harmer who served as LG for just three months and three days in the final months of 1974.

And if he thinks the last four months were tough, just wait.
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Dem LaLaPalooza: Wall Street, Debates, & More

April 17, 2010 · Filed Under Elections, Political Parties and Independents · Comments Off 

LOS ANGELES -- The old joke attributed to Will Rogers about Democrats may have finally come to an end, at least in California for 2010, as everyone at this confab seems to be unified against a location 3,000 miles away.

That would be Wall Street.

"I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat," the legendary humorist is credited with saying. And the adage has stuck around all these years because there's some truth to it. Golden State Dems throw a convention every year that feels like barely controlled chaos, with general sessions full of long, rambling speeches and subgroups of party members (caucuses) in cramped hotel conference rooms debating issues that matter to them.

But nothing focuses the mind like a good target, and Dems think they have one when it comes to the center of the global economic meltdown.
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Podcast: Steve Poizner

April 16, 2010 · Filed Under Podcasts · 1 Comment 

Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Steve Poizner says he's a truth teller. But if that's the case, do people want to hear it?

This week's Capital Notes Podcast features a one-on-one conversation with the Republican candidate for governor, part of our ongoing radio series for The California Report.

(As part of that series, you can hear my conversation with Democrat Jerry Brown here; we've extended the same invite to GOP contender Meg Whitman.)

The radio version of the Poizner story will air next week, but podcast listeners get to hear it early... and in its entirety.

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Poizner & Whitman: Cut Taxes, Make Money

April 14, 2010 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Economy, CA Politics, Elections, Taxes · 3 Comments 

If you were making a list of things that go together… peas and carrots, Batman and Robin, peanut butter and jelly… you’d be safe adding 'Republicans and tax cuts' to that list. So it's not surprising that one of the more substantive policy areas in the GOP gubernatorial primary is about cutting taxes -- how much, which ones, and what impact will be felt.

And the similarity in the plans of Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman lies in an embrace of the core belief of supply side economics -- that cutting taxes makes revenues go up.

That's the focus of this morning's story on The California Report.

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Podcast: An Education

April 9, 2010 · Filed Under CA Budget, Elections, Podcasts · Comments Off 

Educational political ads and education funding in the budget are both parts of this week's Capital Notes Podcast. But there's oh so much more.

Capitol Weekly's Anthony York and I tackle the big news from the race for governor -- cash, commercials, conservatism. We also examine the beginning of the spring budget debate in the Capitol, and this week's revival of a controversial offshore oil drilling proposal.

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