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Hump Day: Tom C, Tony V & eMeg’s eMails

Dec16

tomtwirlWhen speculation began about Tom Campbell possibly switching from the governor’s race to the U.S. Senate contest, the instant conventional wisdom said such a move would help Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Stonehenge,  now tied with former HP CEO Carly Fiorina in Republican primary polls.

That idea rests on the notion – fueled by some knuckle-draggers on the right –that Hurricane Carly is a squishy, Silicon Valley moderate masquerading as a fiscal conservative. And, the argument goes, because former U.S. Rep. Campbell is also a Silicon Valley squish, he’d naturally draw votes from Carly, to the benefit of DeVore.

But wait! Facts intrude. Or at least, what we like to call potential facts, suggested by the recent Los Angeles Times/USC Poll in which DeVore and Fiorina were tied at 27% each.

As Calbuzz reported more than a month ago, DeVore voters favor Campbell over eMeg Whitman 42-35% in the governor’s race, with another 16% for Steve Poizner. More importantly in this context, voters who support Campbell in the governor’s race prefer DeVore over Fiorina in the Senate race by a whopping 42-24%.

carlychuckcollageThis means there’s some connection, in voters minds, between Campbell and DeVore; when we studied the crosstabs from the survey, we found it’s not gender, ideology, geography or age. What does seem to explain the connection is income – which makes some intuitive sense, as the two are the only poor boys in either race.

The poll found Whitman leading Campbell in the governor’s race 35-27% overall. But among downscale, gunrack Republicans – those with incomes under $50,000 who made up 37% of the sample – Campbell was beating Whitman 34-28%. That’s a huge swing.

And guess what? While DeVore and Fiorina were tied at 27% overall, among the trailer park Republican cohort, DeVore was leading Fiorina 34-17% — another massive shift.

So what’s up here? Lower-income Republicans (and for Campbell, the over-65 voters, too) seem to cluster around Campbell and DeVore. Which could well mean that if Campbell got into the Senate race, it could actually boost Fiorina’s share of the vote.

Here’s what Calbuzz believes: While Campbell would have a hell of a time winning the GOP nomination for Senate, he would be the most formidable opponent against Sen. Barbara Boxer in a general election because he’s pro-choice and a moderate on the environment, issues that would help him with independents in the general election.

antonionewyorker

Being 80 is the new black: Speaking of the Senate, the flat-out silliest political story in months was to be found on the home post of Huffpost in recent days. Headlined “Antonio Villaraigosa may call the U.S. Senate ‘home’ in 2012,” the piece predicted the L.A. mayor will be an all-but-certain bet to take over Dianne Feinstein’s seat two years hence.

It’s an abiding mystery why Huffpost editors thought this a worthy page one candidate (though we expect Arianna’s recent big push for her L.A. page provides a big clue) given the goofiness of the column, written by some guy named Feldman, a self-described “journalist and media consultant” whose current job appears to be doing “investigative reporting” for AM radio.

Under the Feldman Scenario, Villaraigosa’s march of triumph to the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body will be enabled by Difi either a) deciding to run for governor or b) choosing not to seek another Senate term because she’s just too damn old. As hard evidence for either option, Feldman cites the undeniable fact that…well, he really, really believes it might happen.

It is…probably foolish to make this next political prediction — and, if it turns out wrong — someone, somewhere, someday will no doubt cite it as yet another example of why such tea leaf reading is a dangerous art, indeed.

“Probably”? “Someday”? “Indeed,” indeed. At least he got the “foolish” part right.

diannePutting aside the fact that Tony V’s erratic performance as mayor better qualifies him as a used car salesman than a U.S. Senator, the notion that Feinstein will run for governor is sooo 2008 , and the idea that she’d give up her hard-earned sweet gig in D.C. if she was 112, fercrineoutloud,  ignores the fact that she’s been immersed in politics and government since 1956. She wouldn’t know what to do if she retired, except drive Dick Blum crazy by nagging him to prune the hedges or something.

In point of fact, Feinstein is already raising money for her 2012 race, and Calbuzz makes her a good bet to challenge Robert Byrd and the late Strom Thurmond in the oldest-coot-ever-to-serve-in-the-Senate sweepstakes.

“She’s not going anywhere,” one associate told Calbuzz, “and if Antonio runs against her, she’ll beat him like a drum.”

emegebay

Update from Delaware: All good Calbuzzers recall that we’ve noted the significance to eMeg Whitman’s candidacy of the big eBay vs. Craigslist civil suit smackdown now taking place in Delaware.

Absent a political record, Whitman has pointed to her experience as eBay’s CEO as the primary rationale for her candidacy for governor, so the trial offers some insider perspective about her values and performance in that role.

The case focuses on a dispute that followed eBay’s acquisition of 28 percent of Craiglist, at a time when Whitman was CEO of the online auction giant. eBay alleges that Craigslist violated terms of the agreement to deny them any say; Craiglist executives charge that eBay and Whitman used the agreement to obtain confidential information in order to set up a new online classified operation as a competitor.

On Tuesday, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster testified about an email exchange between eMeg and eBay executive Garrett Price that followed an interview Buckmaster gave to business reporter Matthew Boyle of Fortune; in response to a question about possible conflicts between the two companies, Buckmaster told Boyle, “our first instinct is to trust eBay to take the high road.”

Price emailed a copy to Whitman, asking if she had seen the piece:

Whitman: “Did. Pretty funny.”
Price: “Yes. I am glad to read that he trusts us.”
Whitman: “Love this.  :)

Referencing the email string, Craigslist’s attorney asked Buckmaster, “Did you think it was ‘pretty funny’ that you trusted eBay?”

“No,” Buckmaster replied sadly.

Following our earlier kvetching about a dearth of trial coverage, we’ve been pleased with the sudden stream of stories and commentaries that appeared this week (Coincidence? You be the judge).

Topping the list is our friend Jackson West, who reported over at NBC Bay Area about Monday’s appearance by Buckmaster,  who testified that Price at one point threatened him with being confronted by “Evil Meg” unless he went along with her designs on his company. As Randall Chase, the AP’s man in Delaware reported the Buckmaster testimony:

jim-buckmasterPrice said he needed to remind Craigslist officials that there were “two Meg Whitmans,” Buckmaster said

Craigslist officials, he was told, had met the “good” Whitman in July 2004, when she convinced Buckmaster, who had broken off discussions and decided not to do business with eBay, to go forward with negotiations that eventually resulted in eBay’s 28 percent minority stake in the online classifieds company.

Buckmaster said Price warned him that there also was an “evil Meg, and that we would best be served if we got with the program, or we’re going to meet the evil Meg.” Price added that Whitman, who is now seeking the Republican nomination for governor in California, could be a “monster” if she got frustrated, according to Buckmaster.

(Yikes! Memo to scheduling: should we rethink this whole eMeg dinner thing?)

The wily West got off the best line in the face of the emerging, unflattering portrait of eMeg, noting that “revelations about Whitman will actually play pretty well to the Republican Party base she’s courting in the gubernatorial primary.”


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