Sunday, August 10, 2003

Here's the low-down on how may potential candidates there are for Governor of California, if the recall of Gray Davis passes:
PartyCandidates FiledUnder Review Complete
Democratic 59 36 23
Republican 48 30 18
American Independent 2 11
Green 4 3 1
Libertarian 3 2 1
Natural Law 2 1 1
Peace and Freedom 2 1 1
Independent 35 26 9
Total 155 100 55

What those numbers mean: 55 of the candidates have already been "qualified", their checks have been deposited and the signatures on their petitions have been verified. The Secretary of State's office still has till the 13th to review the petitions of the 100 remaining. On Monday, August 9, the Secretary will hold the random alphabet drawing, which will determine the order of the names on the ballot.

"Hey, Ken," I hear you ask. "There were 522 candidates the other day, what happened to the other 367?" The other 367 took out the papers, but didn't turn them in for various reasons (didn't get enough signatures; couldn't come up with $3,500; came to their senses; or, those damn midnight phone calls from Gray Davis and Art Torres warning that if they ran they'd never hold office as a Democrat again in their lives).

The recall ballot will have two questions:
1 - Should we remove Gray Davis from office? Yes or No
2 - If Davis is removed, who should replace him? (with the list of candidates).

Important: Even if a voter says "No" to the recall (or abstains, leaving that question blank), the should still select a candidate in the second question!

Because of the number of candidates, the second question is likely to run at least two, probably three, and possibly four pages long. How many voters will select a different candidate on each page? How many will give up trying to find their candidate and select a box at random or not vote at all (remember, it won't be in alphabetical order)?

So, who will emerge as the "major" candidates in this crowded field:

Republicans: Arnold Schwarzenegger and millionaire businessman Bill Simon (who lost to Davis just 10 months ago) will lead the Republican pack, with Congressman Tom McClintock just behind. Darrell Issa, who financed the recall petitions, bowed out when Arnold got in, as did former LA Mayor Dick Riordan.

Democrats: Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is the only prominent, well-known Democrat in the race. John Garamendi bowed to the party pressure and withdrew at the last minute.

Greens: Peter Miguel Camejo will once again carry the Green banner in this election.

Independents: Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who led the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, is running as an independent, as is columnist Arianna Huffington. Each of them could attract enough attention to make this a complicated race.

And the rest: OK, those were the name candidates under each heading. Of course, there's a lot more in the "unknown" category, several of whom have been very good at attracting attention. Among them are Democrats Larry Flynt and Georgy Russell, and independent Leonard Padilla. Just to confuse folks more, Dan Feinstein of San Francisco (not Dianne) is also running as a Democrat.

Meanwhile, Christian conservative group, the Traditional Values Coalition, has organized a campaign committee against Arnold, who has spoken in favor of abortion and gay rights. Its leader, the Rev. Lou Sheldon, told the San Jose Mercury News, "As governor, Mr. Schwarzenegger would be a darker villain than any he has faced in his movies."

Web sites:
Arianna Huffington
Peter Miguel Camejo
Cruz Bustamante
Georgy Russell
Arnold Schwarzenegger

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