An interesting editorial from the Ukiah Daily Journal (news in itself from a paper which rarely prints anything interesting) about the governor’s race, suggesting that contrary to predominant philosophy the contested primary campaign may actually have worked to Angelides’ benefit. As mentioned in an earlier post, Zogby has the race in a dead heat. The kicker is the following passage:

And for Angelides there may be some advantages to having weathered a tough campaign. There’s the fact that he faced down charges of environmental depredation in his earlier days as a Sacramento-area developer, claims that proved to have no legs despite tens of millions of dollars worth of commercials touting them. If those charges arise again this fall, Angelides should know how to defuse them, unless the Schwarzenegger camp can dredge up new allegations with more substance.

And there’s the fact that he fought his way through multiple debates against a plain-talking opponent who pulled few punches. Westly charged Angelides with everything from ignorance of immigration issues to loving tax increases – a claim Schwarzenegger will surely repeat.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has yet to engage in a one-on-one debate with any opponent, ever. When he ran in the 2003 recall election, the governor deigned to appear at only one of the many candidate debates, picking one that included half a dozen figures whose sheer numbers guaranteed there would be no direct confrontations over issues of substance. (emphasis added)

Not only that, but in that debate Schwartzenegger demanded (like a “girly-man“) that all of the questions be provided to him ahead of time – a demand that the other candidates caved to for reasons I’ll never grasp. If Angelides holds firm on the format, he’ll probably come out of the debates pretty strong. It’s not like Schwartzenegger can hide behind lower expectations at this point as he prides himself on his ability to communicate.

You can expect Angelides to bring back to the forefront Schwarzenegger’s special election of last year – a topic which the latter has avoided like the plague. A lot can happen between now and November, but certainly if the economy continues to slow before the election, and even if it doesn’t, we’re probably looking at a new governor next year.

Update: Angelides made an appearance at the Gay Pride march. Good for him! He will probably lose more political capital than he will gain by the appearance.

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