Political Insiders Poll: How many red-state Democratic senators will lose the elections?

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March 27, 2014, 7:22 a.m.

The first chance “to hear what” the GOP can­did­ates “sound like, live, un­scrip­ted and grilled by someone who knows how to ask ques­tions” comes this morn­ing on the “highly-rated ‘Ronn Owens Pro­gram’” on AM ra­dio. In­sur­ance Com­mis. Steve Po­izn­er (R) and ‘00 SEN nom­in­ee/ex-Rep. Tom Camp­bell (R) “will show” but ex-eBay CEO Meg Whit­man (R) won’t.

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Whit­man spokes­per­son Sarah Pom­pei: “Meg’s sched­ule is set weeks in ad­vance and we re­ceived this in­vit­a­tion with only one week’s no­tice. We were not able to re­arrange her sched­ule so that she could par­ti­cip­ate. Cur­rently, we’re work­ing with Ronn Owens’ pro­du­cer to set up an in­ter­view, so Meg and Ronn can dis­cuss the im­port­ant is­sues fa­cing the state.”

The lar­ger ques­tion: “Does the Whit­man camp — with a ton of cash in the bank, much of it cour­tesy of the bil­lion­aire — need ‘free me­dia?’” Whit­man “may feel little pres­sure to in­dulge in such joint ap­pear­ances in the fu­ture while she’s still get­ting her poltiic­al sea legs” (Garo­foli, “Polit­ics Blog,” San Fran­cisco Chron­icle, 9/8).

Not A Flash In The Pan

“Of all the can­did­ates run­ning” Camp­bell “may be the least flashy.” But “he’s got quite the re­sume.” Camp­bell met with ed­it­ors and re­port­ers at the Bakersfield Cali­for­ni­an 9/9 to out­line his views.

“With a life­time of con­ser­vat­ive cre­den­tials,” Camp­bell “nev­er­the­less re­fuses to be tied down by or­tho­dox state­ments and po­s­i­tions.” For ex­ample, “philo­soph­ic­ally, he op­poses new taxes and fa­vors lower taxes — if it’s con­sist­ent with bal­an­cing the budget.” But “he’s not about to rule out taxes com­pletely, es­pe­cially in a fisc­al emer­gency” that he says has seen the state rank “worst in the na­tion in classroom over­crowding.”

If he must “re­sort to a new tax, he fa­vors a broad-based tax on gas­ol­ine.” In the long run, Camp­bell “be­lieves he can fix” the state’s “mess by build­ing an an­nu­al budget based on the pre­vi­ous year’s rev­en­ue, not pro­jec­tions of rev­en­ues that of­ten turn out to be wish­ful think­ing.” He would also “sup­port a fisc­al sys­tem that auto­mat­ic­ally cuts spend­ing when rev­en­ue falls.”

But Camp­bell “has one ma­jor prob­lem as he looks to­ward” the primary. “How can he win” against GOP­ers “who can boast huge per­son­al for­tunes or massive cam­paign war chests filled with cor­por­ate and in­di­vidu­al con­tri­bu­tions?” Camp­bell said “in a state that leans Demo­crat­ic, his com­mon sense fisc­al con­ser­vat­ism will ap­peal” Dems, GOP­ers, and In­de­pend­ents, “giv­ing him an ad­vant­age” (May­er, 9/9).

Sounds Like Pois­on

Wash­ing­ton Post‘s Will writes, “Be­com­ing gov­ernor next year will be a daunt­ing chal­lenge” for Po­izn­er, but he “has sur­moun­ted oth­er obstacles, as when he vo­lun­teered to teach without pay in an East San Jose high school. After he sold, for $1 bil­lion, one of the tech­no­logy com­pan­ies he foun­ded after mov­ing to Cali­for­nia from Texas, and after serving as a White House fel­low, he walked in­to San Jose’s school dis­trict of­fice, ex­plained that he gradu­ated No. 1 in his class at the Uni­versity of Texas, earned a Stan­ford busi­ness de­gree and now wanted to teach Amer­ic­an gov­ern­ment to high school seni­ors. A func­tion­ary de­clared: ‘Noth­ing you have said qual­i­fies you to be in the classroom.’”

Po­izn­er “ex­pects to be­ne­fit from the elect­or­ate’s mood swings. In 2003, it soured on Gray Dav­is, the ar­chetyp­al polit­ic­al lifer (he was Gov. Jerry Brown‘s chief of staff), re­pla­cing him with Schwar­zeneg­ger, who then was the mus­cu­lar am­a­teur and who now is the in­cred­ible shrink­ing ac­tion hero. Po­izn­er thinks Cali­for­nia’s dia­lectic of dis­gust will el­ev­ate him — a slight, be­spec­tacled en­tre­pren­eur who is the only Re­pub­lic­an oth­er than Schwar­zeneg­ger to be elec­ted statewide since 1994. Get­ting a state sickened by mul­tiple tox­ic policies to elect someone whose name sounds like pois­on may be dif­fi­cult, but per­haps not more so than get­ting to teach, un­paid, in East San Jose” (9/10).

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