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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  • All about Phil: Angelides is strategist in own campaign
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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, May 11, 2006

    All about Phil: Angelides is strategist in own campaign

    The following first appeared in Capitol Weeklytoday

    Political pros chart the course of almost every major campaign in California. The state's top strategists increasingly are wooed and pursued as more and more candidates turn over the reins of their campaigns to these hired-guns.

    But not Phil Angelides.

    The state treasurer, and candidate for governor, instead has hired his longtime friend, Cathy Calfo, as his campaign manager. Calfo, who has managed each of Angelides' three previous statewide runs, has never run a statewide campaign for another candidate.

    With a friend managing his bid for governor and with no high-profile consultant giving him strategic advice, those close to Angelides say the man behind the campaign and in front of the cameras is one and the same. So, whether there is ultimately blame or credit to go around after the June primary, much of it will rest with Angelides himself.

    In other words, it's all about Phil.

    "He is certainly not an empty suit automaton with consultants winding him up, programming him full of focus-group-tested hand gestures and having him read poll-tested dribble on a teleprompter," said Dan Newman, Angelides' campaign-communications director in a non-too-subtle jab at rival Steve Westly, who has surrounded himself with political professionals.

    But as Angelides, the former chairman of the California Democratic Party, stumbled in early polls, at one point falling behind Controller Steve Westly by double-digits, some blamed the candidate-centered structure of the campaign for Angelides' sagging support.

    "It is never a good idea for a candidate to serve as their own strategist because they need someone who has some distance and perspective," says Darry Sragow, a Democratic consultant and veteran of five statewide campaigns. "It is no different than the idea that an attorney shouldn't be his or her own client or a doctor shouldn't be his or her own patient.

    "And Phil has that reputation," adds Sragow.

    Few candidates have successfully run for governor in recent years without an outside consultant at the helm of their candidacy. The last winning candidate with a reputation for calling his own shots was Jerry Brown, who was first elected governor in 1974, well before the current 24-hour media cycle. Even former-Gov. Gray Davis, the consummate micro-manager, turned to spinster Garry South to run his 1998 bid for governor.

    Today, South is the chief strategist for Westly. Team Westly also includes David Doak, a veteran television-ad producer, and former Davis aide Roger Salazar. Of course, Westly, like Angelides, has personal friends in high posts within his campaign. Greg Larson, who Westly has known since their days at Stanford, is the campaign's vice chairman. Paul Rosenstiel, another college buddy, is the policy director.

    As Angelides slipped behind Westly, criticism among Friends of Phil centered on the campaign's lack of response to Westly for the first months of the campaign, the decision to go off the air with television ads last month, and the quality of Angelides' ads themselves. Political insiders have begun rumbling about who is really making the critical decisions in the campaign.

    "When political insiders get together and talk about this campaign the questions come up: 'Who is Angelides' strategist? Who is doing the TV ads? Who is calling the shots?' And the answer is we don't know so it must be Phil," says Sragow.

    Some Democrats say there have been serious missteps by the Angelides campaign along the way. "It feels like they never really believed that Westly would spend his money," said another Democratic consultant, who spoke on the condition on anonymity. "They were surprised and seemed caught flat-footed. And that seems outrageous."

    But Calfo, a former executive director of the state party in the early 1990s, dismisses concerns about the way the Angelides campaign has been run. She says the recent dip in the polls was expected and that, following the party's endorsement, Angelides' numbers are rebounding.

    "We expected to drop in the polls," said Calfo. "[In] California politics … if one person is on television and one is not, polls are going to pick up on that."

    Calfo says that with a self-funded opponent like Westly, a multimillionaire former dot-com mogul, the campaign had no choice but to husband its resources months before Election Day.

    "When it came to the communications program, we realized that the Westly could write a check and spend as much money as he wanted," said Calfo. "And we made a commitment that when they started we would go up on the air as well, just to make clear that we were in the game. We also made a decision, at that time, that if it came down to it, we would be disciplined and we would go off the air."

    But when Angelides' ads were taken off the air, both the Field Poll and Los Angeles Times were querying voters. The result: a swing in the results--and the campaign's momentum--for Westly.

    Calfo says that the Angelides campaign has invested heavily off the airwaves, particularly in "ground-organizing efforts," that include courting high-membership Democratic clubs and labor organizations, most of which have lined up behind the Angelides campaign.

    But when asked who was the campaign's chief strategist, Calfo demurred. "I don't think that any of the labels that people commonly use necessarily apply here," she said.

    Team Angelides has hired political consultants for advice. Paul Maslin, a veteran of many Democratic campaigns, is Angelides' pollster. Saul Shorr, a Philadelphia-based consultant, is producing the television advertising. And Bob Mulholland, a former strategist for the state party, joined the campaign late last year.

    But that pales in comparison to the army of consultants that surrounds Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has, in the last three years, hired nearly every major Republican consulting firm in California. Schwarzenegger's latest team, headed by campaign manager Steve Schmidt and communications director Katie Levinson, comes directly from the White House.

    Republican strategist Dan Schnur, a veteran of past gubernatorial races, says that Angelides central role in his own campaign has hurt his candidacy. "Even the most brilliant political strategist is at a disadvantage acting as his own consultant," he said.

    Schnur says that Angelides is running an "emotionally indulgent campaign," vowing to be the anti-Arnold long after "it has become apparent that is a message with limited appeal, even in a Democratic primary."

    "Angelides is saying it is not enough to hate Arnold Schwarzenegger, it is about how much you hate him and how long you have hated him for," says Schnur. "That is not good enough."

    Democratic consultant Sragow, who is unaffiliated with either campaign but counts Westly as a friend, says that one of the biggest difficulties with candidate-as-strategist is simply time management.

    "Only the candidate can go out and give a speech," says Sragow. "Lots of people can be strategists. Only one person can be the candidate."

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