We argued here two weeks ago that Dianne Feinstein will not run for governor of California in 2010 — although that’s the job she’s always wanted most — because she has such key roles in the U.S. Senate, would have to fight through nasty primary and general elections, would expose her husband’s business deals to opposition research and because, at this late stage in her life, wrangling the legislative gnomes in Sacramento would be incredibly distasteful to her.
But if you want to read a pretty good counter-argument about why Dianne might run, read Nate Silver’s take at fivethirtyeight.com. Nate is a brilliant guy whose mathematical analysis of polling data during the 2008 presidential election was extraordinarily accurate. He sees Feinstein’s stand against the Employee Free Choice Act — labor’s No. 1 issue before Congress — as an indication that she IS running.
Now Nate’s not an expert in California politics and there are some weaknesses in his argument. — like the fact that were Feinstein to run, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom would get out which might leave labor to rally around Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (a former labor leader himself), Attorney General Jerry Brown or another candidate. So labor might not be as divided as Nate suggests. And yes, Feinstein’s stand might help her suck up corporate contributions for the general. But she’d do that anyway and it still would not be as much as Republicans Meg Whitman, the former EBay CEO, or Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, could throw at the race.
Still, Nate’s analysis is worth a read. You can find it here.