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
  • NAACP's Huffman assailed for tobacco, telecom payments
  • Schwarzenegger targets the 'ElimiDate Voter'
  • Legislators tap Sacramento interests for campaign cash
  • New York developer's eminent-domain crusade comes to California
  • Schwarzenegger's election-year olive branches
  • Dems, Gov. tapped same spots for campaign cash
  • Schwarzenegger has a special interest in Capitol-area money
  • Schwarzenegger's million-dollar woman
  • The kings and queens of the California political quotation
  • All about Phil: Angelides is strategist in own campaign
  • "Women of the year" married to men of Legislature
  • With new law, chase for campaign cash becomes family affair
  • High school student gives governor $44,600
  • Going to interview with CTA? Be sure to look into the camera
  • David Crane: Arnold's other Democratic adviser
  • The rise of the blogs: How the GOP uses the Web to organize

  • 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, January 05, 2006

    Democrats prepare for potentially bloody primary battle

    The following appeared in Capitol Weekly today

    With just more than six months until the June gubernatorial primary, Democrats are bracing for what is expected to be a bitter and intense battle for the right to face Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November.

    Though two big-name Hollywood Democrats flirted with a run, the field has ultimately thinned to two--state Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly--both of whom are little known outside of Sacramento and are recognized by less than half of California voters.

    Some party leaders are holding out hope for bloodless primary, but each candidate has surrounded himself with battle-scarred veterans with a history of brutal campaigns and a penchant for the jugular.

    "When you run for governor, everything you have done in your entire life is open for examination. That's the way it works," said Garry South, a one-time aide to Gov. Gray Davis and now a senior strategist for Westly.

    Though the race is still in its infancy, Westly has already gone on the offensive, criticizing both Angelides and Schwarzenegger for failing to release a decade of tax returns, saying that Angelides "has developed a pattern over the years of resisting full disclosure."

    The fact that the ten-year tax window dips into Angelides' past as a Sacramento-area real estate developer and land speculator is no accident. It is a chapter of the treasurer's past that most observers expect the Westly campaign to highlight.

    For its part, the Angelides camp, which polls show ahead by 11 or so points in the head-to-head match-up, has countered that Westly is a politician "with his finger in the wind," an opportunist who stood side by side with a popular Schwarzenegger in early 2004, but now opposes the governor because it is politically expedient.

    "The fact is from day one, even when his poll numbers were at 70 percent, I stood up to this governor when he was doing the wrong thing," Angelides told Capitol Weekly.

    With all this before the campaigns have really kicked into gear, some among the Democratic faithful are worried that a nasty primary will severely damage the eventual nominee.

    "I am hoping for it not to be a bitter primary. I am going to do all I can to try to make it that way," said Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party. "The overall campaign has to be as positive as possible for both the candidates because that will bode us well in November."

    But history does not bode well for Torres. Angelides earned a reputation as a win-at-all-costs campaigner as far back as 1994, when he ran for state treasurer against former Senate leader David Roberti. In one memorable television advertisement, Angelides attacked Roberti's anti-abortion position by highlighting the murder of an abortion doctor in Florida.

    South says the ad so offended him that Angelides is the only Democrat running for statewide office he did not vote for in 1994--or since. Angelides defeated Roberti in that primary, but lost to Republican Matt Fong in the Republican tide of the fall of 1994.

    Late last year, the Angelides campaign hired Bob Mulholland, a brusque former advisor to the Democratic party, known for his confrontational tactics.

    South helped secure Gray Davis' reelection in 2002 by taking out attack ads during the Republican gubernatorial against Richard Riordan, is helping shape strategy for Westly, positioning him as the moderate in the race--the "electable" alternative to a more liberal Angelides.

    "Angelides has been shrill and strident and has moved way too far to the left," says South. "And if he is the nominee, the [Republicans] will slice him and dice him like a Veg-O-Matic."

    "He will turn out like a Democratic Dan Lungren," adds South, a reference to Davis' conservative Republican opponent who was trounced at the polls in 1998.

    The hirings of South and Mulholland have many Democrats bracing for an expensive, and nasty campaign.

    "They start out with good intentions until one of them falls behind and they say 'screw this'. Then they go to the Armageddon strategy and all hell will break loose," said Bruce Cain, director of the UC Washington Center. "And with Bob Mulholland on one side and Garry South on the other, you have some guys that know how to get down and dirty."

    Despite the intensifying rhetoric, the two candidates tend to agree on many of the state's hot-button issues. They both support gun control, strict environmental protections, abortion rights and gay marriage.

    Both were Democratic activists from a young age, though Westly, now 49, first ran for elected office in 2002, while Angelides, now 52, launched a failed bid for Sacramento City Council at 19 years old and has since served as Democratic party chairman, and two terms as state treasurer.

    The issue that has most divided the candidates is new taxes.

    While California voters have been characteristically schizophrenic on government spending, simultaneously demanding both lower taxes and better services, Westly has tried to walk that fine line with them, refusing to embrace calls for higher taxes.

    But Angelides has been more clear, decrying budget debt and spending cuts, leaving higher taxes as the only viable option to fill the state's schools, healthcare system and transportation needs.

    On Wednesday, in his first major policy speech of the campaign, Angelides announced his plan to rollback all the Schwarzenegger-approved tuition and fee hikes at California colleges, admit 20,000 new students to state schools, expand Cal Grants, and double the number of college counselors.

    As for who would foot the bill, he said, "We can close corporate tax loopholes; we can ask millionaires to chip in; we can collect uncollected taxes; we can fund this."

    The event typified Angelides' early campaign strategy. It is the strategy of the front-runner, focusing his fire on Schwarzenegger, with nary a mention of his primary opponent.

    Even Angelides' campaign team is more focused on the governor, and President Bush, than they are Steve Westly. "The governor this week has started to read from an election year script," said Angelides spokesman Dan Newman. "It fits the Bush-Rove strategic plan of going into an election year and embracing moderate rhetoric that is different from the way you govern."

    You can read the piece here as well.

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