The record will show that Steve Poizner had just left a meeting with editors and reporters in Silicon Valley, a few minutes after 4 pm. Thursday, when his trusty flack knocked down the latest rumor that The Commish was quitting the governor’s race.
In response to our email inquiry, Poizner mouthpiece Jarrod (The Pagan) Agen texted:
Hahaha…sorry, my blackberry died. We literally just walked out of the San Jose Merc Ed Board….it’s usually better to spread these rumors when we aren’t sitting in front of a room of journalists. I’m sure Meg Whitman would like Steve to drop out of the race, but it is not happening.
Calbuzz is usually far too busy working on our short-iron game or our memoirs (“Settling Our Scores: Our Life in American Journalism”) to truck in such low-rent rumors, but the volume of intelligence traffic on this one got loud enough on Thursday to check out.
It’s not entirely surprising, of course, that such speculation would swirl, given yet another lousy Poizner showing in new Field and PPIC polls (the last time the story got heavily peddled also coincided with a round of fresh surveys, when he suddenly announced a $15 million donation to the cause).
And, if you ponder long and hard enough about it, it’s even possible to think of someone who might potentially benefit from spreading such a tale (“Yeah, that’s the Whitman campaign’s wet dream,” a key Poizner insider growled when we raised the rumor).
All pretty standard primary Kabuki, including the part when Poizner told the Merc Ed Board, “I don’t think the polls mean a lot” at this point. Except: amid the countless media iterations of the new horserace polls, including ours, it is important to keep in mind that Poizner is, um, actually right.
As Timm Herdt, the VC Star’s All-Madden political reporter, notes:
The last time there was a contested GOP primary for governor — in 2002 — former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan held an even larger lead in the polls in January, which at the time was much closer to Election Day (the primary was in March instead of June back then).
Here are the numbers from the Jan. 29, 2002 Field Poll: Riordan 46 percent, Bill Simon 13 percent, Bill Jones 13 percent. That’s a 33-point lead. The Jan. 25, 2010 Field Poll shows Whitman at 45 percent and Poizner at 17 percent, a 28-point lead, with a lot more undecideds than there were in January ’02.
Clearly, there are differences between the two races — most notably the fact that Whitman stands ready to spend a whole lot more money than Riordan ever did, and Poizner won’t be helped, as was Simon, by an orchestrated effort by the incumbent Democrat (Gray Davis) to help undercut the GOP front-runner.
Still, don’t underestimate the power of the conservative grassroots in a closed Republican primary in California.
Good point, well taken.
Beyond the time-space continuum: Jerry Brown appeared to be time traveling again when he went on KGO-radio this week and launched an attack on…Gavin Newsom?
Seems Mayor Narcissus recently sniped at Brown for lacking the “fire in the belly” to run for governor and Crusty being Crusty, just couldn’t let it pass with, oh say, a gracious word or two for a vanquished opponent.
He’s been giving a lot of advice to the president and now me, and I’m sure there’ll be others because when you don’t have a lot to do, you can start checking out what other people have been doing.
Yo Jerry! The dude dropped out in October. Give it a rest, man.
Also notable was Brown’s take on the latest speculation (as reliable as the Poizner rumor, Costco Carla) that Difi is taking another look at running for governor:
The job of governor is going to be a very difficult and painful task. It’s going to take all the skills and all the knowledge and all the will and the grace of God to get you through it. It’s not something anybody is going rush into other than those ignorant to what’s ahead.
There are a lot of people maybe who are standing in the wings and are looking to undergo a $150 million assault on their character and their record and their future.
Translation: Feinstein was permanently scarred by getting savaged by Michael Huffington’s millions in negative ads in 1994, then demurred on the 1998 gov’s race in part because she didn’t want $40 million of Al Checchi money dumped on her head. So WTF would she choose to go up against eMeg’s $100 million+ to run for the world’s worst job, when she could be sleeping in and exchanging witty banter in amusing Georgetown salons? Meanwhile Don Ringe’s latest political animated cartoon includes an exclusive interview with Herself about her views on the governorship.
Three dot lounge: HT to Robert B. Gunnison (the only erstwhile Capitol reporter whose name forms a complete sentence in Ebonics) for demanding we not miss Steve Harmon’s well-reported piece about why journos and other researchers have been denied access to Crusty’s official papers from his first tour as governor…Talk about news that stays news: one of the top stories on the Washpost RSS feed Friday morning was “Democrats confused about path ahead”…Nice thoughtful piece on the Supreme Court’s big campaign finance ruling by longtime Democratic operative and consultant Les Francis, seeking to hose down the easily excited types in his party…
Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: “Pants on the Ground” guy not allowed inside Grammys.