The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Can the Golden State of Dreams Face Reality?


Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman made it official yesterday, jumping into the California governor’s race. I took a look at her potential candidacy back in April.

Since that piece ran, the unemployment rate has hit 12.2 percent — that’s 2.2 million Californians out of work — and the state’s budget outlook has grown even worse. Whitman had a mildly unfortunate brouhaha when video surfaced of her praising Van Jones — before his Truther instincts were revealed.

Barring some sort of dramatic economic turnaround in the next 13 months or so, California’s gubernatorial election will be a fascinating lesson in what voters do when their state stands at the precipice — or perhaps falls off it. Attorney General Moonbeam is thinking of returning to an office he first won in 1974 by promising “new ideas.” Gavin Newsom wants to bring to Sacramento the same policies and values that have helped him make San Francisco such a prosperous, safe, and affordable community for working families.

But Whitman will face primary rivals first, including Tom Campbell, a former congressman with a plethora of budget-cutting proposals, and Steve Poizner, the California insurance commissioner, who is beating the drum for tort reform and labor reform.

Still, Californians’ options are pretty stark – an entrepreneur, a professor, and a tech guru who are all offering versions of tough budgetary medicine, vs. two career politicians who have climbed the greasy pole in two of the most liberal communities in the country. We will see if the promises of taxpayer-subsidized unicorns work for one more year.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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