Shane Goldmacher is a former reporter for Capitol Weekly. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he served as editor of the Berkeley Political Review.

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  • National NAACP bucks CA chapter, backs tobacco tax initiative
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  • Schwarzenegger targets the 'ElimiDate Voter'
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  • 1A: 76.9-23.1
    1B: 61.3-38.7
    1C: 57.4-42.6
    1D: 56.6-43.4
    1E: 64-36
    83: 70.6-29.4
    84: 53.7-46.3
    85: 45.9-54.1
    86: 48-52
    87: 45.2-54.8
    88: 23-77
    89: 25.5-74.5
    90: 47.6-52.4

    U.S. Sen.
    Feinstein 59.7
    Mountjoy 34.9
    Schwarzenegger 55.8
    Angelides 39.2
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 49.5
    McClintock 44.9
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 56.7
    Poochigian 37.9
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 48.5
    McPherson 44.7
    Lockyer 54.8
    Parrish 37
    Chiang 50.9
    Strickland 40.1
    Insur. Comm.
    Poizner 50.7
    Bustamante 38.9

    For complete election results click here.

    Angelides 48.2
    Westly 43.1
    Lt. Gov
    Garamendi 42.9
    Speier 39.3
    Figueroa 17.8
    Atty. Gen.
    Brown 63.2
    Delgadillo 36.8
    Sec. of state
    Bowen 61.1
    Ortiz 38.9
    Parrish 56.4
    Richman 43.6
    Democratic primary
    Chiang 53.4
    Dunn 46.6
    Republican primary
    Strickland 40.9
    Maldonado 36.9
    Insur. Comm.
    Bustamante 70.5
    Kraft 29.5
    Supt. of Schools
    O'Connell 52.5, avoids run-off

    For complete election results click here.

    73: 47.4-52.6
    74: 45-55
    75: 46.6-53.4
    76: 38-62
    77: 40.5-59.5
    78: 41.5-58.5
    79: 38.9-61.1
    80: 34.3-65.7

    For complete election results click here.

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    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Team Schwarzenegger Strategy

    The following first appeared in Capitol Weekly

    Arnold MIA from TV ads; big push for Latino support

    Down in the polls and facing a career-defining special election in less than four weeks, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign is kicking into full gear: He is making an unprecedented Spanish-language television ad buy and he is inundating mailboxes with some 10 million flyers in the largest absentee direct mail effort in California history.

    "The issue of reform is much larger than I am," announced Schwarzenegger at a recent campaign stop. "And this is why it's worth fighting for." Remarkably, Schwarzenegger--an internationally known actor who goes to great lengths to market his public image--is absent from his own Spanish-language ads. His handlers clearly believe that his own ballot initiatives, on which he has staked his crusade for reform, stand a better chance of passing among Spanish-speakers if Schwarzenegger isn't personally identified with the proposals.

    Ironically, his opponents are plastering the governor's face all over their own ads.

    The conspicuous absence of the governor, whose personal charisma and populist image helped propel him into office in 2003, highlights an ironic twist of fate that will drive the campaign's strategy in the final push toward Nov. 8: Schwarzenegger is now less popular than the reforms he is promoting.

    Capitol Weekly obtained the results of an internal poll commissioned by Univision, the leading Spanish-language TV network, showing that although the governor may be unpopular among Hispanics, two of his initiatives, Propositions 74 and 75, are ahead by double-digit margins among Latinos. Propositions 76 and 77 both trail by single-digits, with many Latinos still undecided on each of the measures.

    Those results stand in stark contrast to Schwarzenegger's own approval rating among Latinos, which had plummeted to 18 percent, according to the latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. To further court the Hispanic population, Schwarzenegger recently announced the formation of a Latino Coalition, with former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin and Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, serving as co-chairs.

    "What is interesting is that the Latino voters are being looked at by both sides as a gettable group of voters who are going to ultimately decide the results of the election," said Carlos Rodriguez, a Republican consultant, whose nonpartisan polling group Latino Opinions conducted the poll.

    The poll, which queried 600 registered Latino voters and asked their opinions on the measures after reading the official ballot title and summary, is being circulated by Univision to drum up advertising dollars--from both Schwarzenegger and the labor coalition lined up against him.

    Some Democrats, when told of the poll's results, questioned the legitimacy of a survey commissioned by Univision, a company whose chairman and CEO, A. Jerrold Perenchio, has been a major Schwarzenegger donor. Perenchio cut Schwarzenegger's campaign a check for $1.5 million earlier this month, matching a donation he made earlier in the year to help qualify the governor's agenda for the ballot.

    "The money goes in the favors go out," says Steve Maviglio, spokesman for the Alliance for a Better California, the labor-coalition opposing Schwarzenegger's agenda. "It's like Perenchio is paying himself back. It's all about helping his contributor. It is not about reaching out to Latinos who [Schwarzenegger] has ignored for the last two years."

    Perenchio is only one of many top contributors who Schwarzenegger has tapped for cash in the waning weeks of the campaign.

    In a private campaign conference call held at the beginning of this month, Schwarzenegger's strategists told potential donors that the campaign plans to spend $1 million a day until the election, with $12 million still to be raised. In this month alone, Schwarzenegger's California Recovery Team has taken in more than $4.2 million in new contributions. His Univision buy was between $1.7 million and $2 million, sources told Capitol Weekly.

    That influx of money has allowed the governor to invest in the largest absentee mail campaign in California history, with 10 million pieces sent out. That is nearly double the number of pieces that campaigns traditionally use to saturate the electorate. The direct mail, which is sent overwhelmingly to Republicans, is aimed at mobilizing a conservative base for a special election where low-turnout is expected.

    The intense fundraising has also allowed the governor to begin purchasing airtime for television spots, including the Spanish-language ad. The campaign has a parallel English ad without Schwarzenegger, titled "Package" (the Spanish ad is called "Paquete"), which follows an identical format.

    Four seemingly everyday Californians glowingly describe each of the governor's four reform initiatives, with an announcer asking for a "yes" vote on the entire package at the end of the commercial. Schwarzenegger is never mentioned in either ad--save the fine print identifying who purchased the spot.

    "The special election is not about the governor," says Schwarzenegger campaign spokesman Todd Harris. "It is about fixing the broken system."

    Still, it was only a year ago that Schwarzenegger's presence in large part propelled an initiative campaign to victory. Two weeks before the November 2004 election, opponents of reforming the state's "three strikes" law launched a multi-million dollar television campaign prominently featuring then-popular Schwarzenegger. With approval ratings in the mid-60s, the governor was the most sought-after campaign surrogate in the state, if not the country.

    Before the ads aired, polls showed the measure leading handily. But after the Arnold ad blitz, the initiative was defeated with more than 52 percent of the vote.

    Now the tables have turned: It is the union-coalition aligned against the governor that is using Schwarzenegger in their ads. One labor coalition ad titled "Record" characterizes Proposition 74 as "another bad Schwarzenegger idea." Schwarzenegger's name or face--or both--appear on every frame.

    Larry Grisolano, the lead consultant for the No on 75 campaign, says that prominently featuring Schwarzenegger is a useful tool for opponents of his initiatives.

    "When they find out that he's behind [Proposition 75], they are less apt to believe it is providing new rights to workers," says Grisolano. "It is easier to understand that it's about weakening the political voice of nurses, police, teachers and firefighters."

    This is not to say that the governor will be completely absent from the campaign airwaves. The campaign's ad buy on Univision is identified as only the "first round," with later advertising volleys potentially including the governor. And the campaign has already aired English spots centered around the governor.

    In addition, Schwarzenegger has been crisscrossing the state, hosting invite-only "town hall" events to promote the special election. On Monday, Arizona Senator John McCain, who shares political consultant Mike Murphy with Schwarzenegger, joined the governor to campaign. McCain's appearance signals an attempt to rekindle the reformist mantle Schwarzenegger held
    during the recall, and early in his first-term.

    Part of that strategy, according to the conference call between campaign donors and strategists, is apologizing for Schwarzenegger's first-term shortcomings, namely saying things that were "more appropriate on Saturday Night Live" than for a sitting governor.

    The campaigns' two main messages will be, first, that the governor's measures are needed to get the state's fiscal house in order and, second, that this election pits Schwarzenegger against pro-big government labor unions defending the status quo.

    This week, the Schwarzenegger camp released an animated cartoon on their Web Site, featuring a pair of union bosses "shaking down" a schoolteacher for money. "Fighting reform is expensive," chortles one of the goons. Driving off, the license plate reveals that the total union spending against Schwarzenegger's agenda has topped $100 million.

    "We've always known that the union bosses would say anything to preserve the status quo and would do anything to fight reform," adds Harris. "Now we know that they will spend anything to keep the system just the way it is in

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