Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘campaign spending’



Why Gender Won’t Help GOP Women Candidates

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Published jointly today in the Los Angeles Times

The dual nomination of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina for governor and U.S. Senate in the state Republican primary was an historic event, but the candidates’ gender is unlikely to help them much in the November election.

The two became the first women ever chosen at the top of a GOP ticket in California, and their victories came amid much media discussion nationally about the breakthrough of “Republican feminists” and Sarah Palin’s excited forecast about the ascendancy of conservative “mamma grizzlies.”

However, a look back at California elections involving women candidates suggests that gender  won’t be a major factor in whether Fiorina or Whitman win or lose. Analysis of past voting data shows that:

– Party matters far more than gender in a general election.
– Gender matters most among independent women voters
– Neither Democratic nor independent women voters are likely to favor a candidate who is not pro-choice.

“Party, party, party,” answered Mark DiCamillo, director of the esteemed Field Poll, when asked if a candidates’ gender or partisan identification is more important in a general election.

“If you had to ask just one question that would predict how someone would vote, you’d want to ask their party,” he said.

Democratic consultant Bill Carrick, the chief strategist for Dianne Feinstein in 1990, when she became the first woman in California to win a major party’s nomination for governor, agreed:

“There’s no doubt that in candidate races the first and most salient factor in who you vote for is what political party do you belong to,” said Carrick, who also managed Feinstein’s historic campaign in 1992, when she and Barbara Boxer became the first female candidates to win a top office in the state, in what was dubbed the “Year of the Woman.”

In a late October Field Poll of the 1990 governor’s race, then-Republican Senator Pete Wilson led Feinstein, the former longtime mayor of San Francisco, by 47-39%, with 14% for others or undecided. At the time, he not only led 48-36% among men, who comprised 48 % of the electorate, but also 46-40% among women, who represented 52% of all voters.

At the time, Feinstein enjoyed relatively modest support within her own party, leading only 62-24% among Democrats. Wilson by contrast, led 76-12% among Republicans.

Days later, Wilson won the election 49-46%, as Feinstein gained considerable ground in the final days of the campaign; while there was no reliable exit poll on the race, it appears that many Democrats (a disproportionate number of whom are women), who had earlier held back, broke for their party’s candidate in the end.

Statistical support for that conclusion may be found in Los Angeles Times exit polling of the governor’s race four years later.

State Treasurer Kathleen Brown – the weakest Democratic candidate for governor in recent history – won 78% of her party’s vote in a bid against incumbent Gov. Pete Wilson, according to the survey. If Brown captured nearly eight in 10 Democrats in winning only 41% of the overall vote in 1994, it’s certain that Feinstein won at least as many with her stronger statewide performance four years earlier.

The 1994 Kathleen Brown-Pete Wilson race and the Feinstein-Michael Huffington Senate race the same year also offer clues about the relationship of party, gender and the abortion issue.

The pro-choice Wilson beat pro-choice Brown statewide by a resounding 55-41%. According to the Times exit poll, Wilson carried men 58-38% and women 52-43%, meaning Brown did somewhat better with women than with men.

But the numbers show that nearly all of the gender difference is explained by party.

Wilson won Republican men and women by 91-6% each and also carried independents: 57-34% among men and 54-39% among women; as she did among Democrats, Brown did somewhat better among independent women than she did with independent men.

Independents represented only about 16% of the electorate in 1994 (they are about 20% today). Brown’s pick-up of overall women voters was based on winning Democrats 78-19%, in a year when Democrats accounted for more than 4 in 10 voters (Democrats are now 44% of registered voters) and the party’s voting ranks included considerably more women than men.

The same year, Feinstein barely beat Huffington, 47-45%. A key difference between Kathleen Brown and Feinstein in 1994, however, was that the Senator attracted larger numbers of independent women and even made some inroads among Republican women,

Like Wilson, Huffington was pro-choice. Feinstein won 83% of Democratic men and 84% of women Democrats, while Huffington carried 83% of GOP men but just 75% of the party’s women. She won independent women, 51-36%, while independent men favored him 44-39%.

So Feinstein ran stronger with women voters than men, both among Republicans and independents – even though both candidates were pro-choice. This shows that it’s possible for a Democratic woman to pull some votes from the opposite party and from independents based on gender, in a race where abortion rights are not a determinative factor.

The 2010 Senate race pits the strongly pro-life Fiorina against the fiercely pro-choice Boxer. Since both are women, gender is likely to play even less of a role than usual. And Fiorina will have a tough battle,  as no pro-life candidate has won at the top of the ticket (president, governor or senator) in California since 1988, when George Bush beat Michael Dukakis.

The Whitman-Brown race is a different matter. “For a socially moderate, pro-choice woman like Meg Whitman, there’s some segment of the electorate that will take a closer look at her than they would if it were a white male with the same positions on the issues,” said political consultant Garry South, who guided Democrat Gray Davis to his gubernatorial victory in 1998 1994.

Running against the pro-choice Jerry Brown, however, Whitman will likely find it difficult to woo Democratic women voters to her side, just as Kathleen Brown could not lure Republican women away from Wilson in 1994. The Feinstein-Huffington race suggests, however, that Whitman’s gender could help her among independent women who are not aligned with Democratic positions on other issues.

The single greatest uncertainty in the governor’s race, however, may not be a function of gender or party, but of money. Said South, noting Whitman’s prediction of how much of her personal fortune she may spend: “There’s no playbook for somebody who’s going to spend $150 million.”

Chicken eMeg Ducks; Primary Winners and Losers

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Jerry Brown kicked off his general election campaign for governor by reprising the Call-Meg-Out-to-Debate gambit he played at the California Democratic state convention. And eMeg, true to form, repeated her Chicken Little with a Fat Checkbook routine, refusing to meet Krusty on neutral turf.

So began the race to November: Brown moved to maximize his big advantage as a skillful debater while minimizing her great strength as a world-class spender, as she pooh-poohed his invitation to a series of 10 town hall joint appearances, clearly recognizing the pitch as that of a poor man desperate to substitute free airtime for the countless TV ads only she can afford.

“I’m inviting Meg Whitman to join with me to run a campaign that will put the focus on town halls where each of us in an unscripted manner will discuss our positions and answer questions,” Brown said Wednesday, in a move that echoed his call in April for three-way gubernatorial debates that included the now-vanquished Steve Poizner.

“Let’s tell people how we’ll manage their tax dollars, how we’ll hold down taxes, how we’ll make government work better and more efficiently, how we’ll fix our schools and how we’ll create jobs,” he added.

Whitman ducked and hid behind Mike Murphy’s clown pants while turning the rhetorical tables back on Krusty the General whom, she quite correctly noted, has not laid out plans for managing the state budget, taxes and spending:

“There will be plenty of debates in the future,” Whitman told reporters (hmmm, where have we heard that before?).  “But in the present what I recommend to Jerry Brown, instead of playing political games, is to lay out his plan for California.

“His website has virtually nothing on it and he hasn’t told Californians much of anything. I put out a 48-page policy book and detailed the plans that I have to turn California around.  I call on Jerry Brown to lay out a plan for California, and then at least we’ll have something to debate about.”

The elbow exchanges began on Tuesday night, within moments of confirmation that they were their parties’ nominees  for governor.

“It’s not enough for someone rich and restless to look in the mirror one morning and decide, ‘Hey, it’s time to be governor of California,’” Brown said, in the best line of the night. “We tried that [nudge, nudge, wink, wink Gov. Schwarzmuscle]. It didn’t work. Puffery, platitudes and promises won’t balance our budget, won’t fix our schools and won’t create any new jobs.”

“Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington be warned [take a note Babs],” Whitman replied, joining herself at the hip with U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina. “You now face your worst nightmare; two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done.”

“Jerry Brown has spent a lifetime in politics and the results have not been good. Failure seems to follow Jerry Brown everywhere,” eMeg added.

God, we love the smell of sniping in the morning.

The bottom line: The Green Eyeshade Division of the Calbuzz Department of Weights and Measures has concluded – after several shots of espresso and rubber covers on our fingertips – that Whitman spent about $90 per vote in the primary while Brown spent about 20 cents per vote. So if the debate going forward is partly about who knows how to wring results out of a scarce dollar, well, you gotta give the edge to Krusty.

Pressing the populist income equality point, Brown flackster Sterling Clifford responded to Meg’s refusal to debate:  “Whitman is acting as though she’s the queen of California and wants to be crowned without the need to face her subjects. . .Since Meg Whitman only has a record of not voting, it’s time for her to get out from behind her gilded curtain and engage in a open exchange about how we can get California working again.”

Brown himself got a little steamed when asked about Whitman’s repeated charge that his record shows he would tax and spend too much.

“Look, she wasn’t here most of the time, and she wasn’t voting or paying attention,” he said, a reference to the fact that Whitman has only a passing acquaintance with civic engagement. “When I was governor of California, we built up the largest surplus in history — $4.5 billion. We created 1.9 million jobs. We reduced taxes by billions, OK?”

True that, but when Brown started as governor in January 1975, Whitman was still attending just out of Cold Spring Harbor High School in Long Island and studying at Princeton, where she might have learned about Brown’s tax and spending practices  in a class on ancient and medieval history.

Election pool results: The breathtakingly close race for second place in the Democratic primary for governor, matching retired San Diego Realtor Richard Aguirre and Sacramento-based parole board judge Charles “Chuck” Pineda Jr., had our team of polling officials working into the  early morning hours Wednesday to determine the election pool winners.

Secretary of State Deborah Bowen reported the photo finish result this way:

Aguirre 71,493  (0.0406288%)
Pineda 71,484  (0.0406237%)

As of noon Wednesday, we hadn’t heard of Pineda calling for a recount, so although these are the unofficial, not- for-the-record-books-not-exactly-final numbers, the Calbuzz Department of Close Enough for Government Work & Election Returns made a command decision to give  Aguirre 2nd place for pool purposes. Because, after all, why not?

That said, the winners, with number of Right and Wrong answers are:

1st Place – Brian Kraft       6R 1W
2nd Place – Jeremy Wolf   5R 2W (won tiebreaker*)
3rd Place – Justin Salenik 5R 2W (2nd tiebreaker)

*The tiebreaker question was how many votes birther screwball Orly Taitz would capture in the Secretary of State race. Players were all over the lot on this, with Michael Tamariz estimating a low-ball 7,845 and Andrew Westall and Alex Hirsch both projecting 1.1 million for the widely known whack job. In the end, the demented loon won 359,490 Republican votes. Which is pretty scary, if you think about it.

Thanks to everyone for playing.

Damn the iceberg, I’m in charge here: Speaking of knuckleheads, Chris Matthews made an even bigger fool of himself than usual Tuesday night when he ranted on MSNBC air for several hours about the damage that was going to be inflicted upon the California Republican ticket because GOP voters were about to nominate Taitz – even though GOP voters never came close to nominating her and she badly trailed nominee Damon Dunn all night long, starting with the first vote dump.

Starting well before the polls closed in California at 8 p.m. and continuing until after 9 p.m., Matthews kept putting on a frightful frown to repeatedly raise the subject of Taitz and thunder that she was a “malignancy” for Republicans who was likely to “drag down” Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, as if her nomination was an accomplished fact, rather than the headline on a  lazy speculation piece that he’d read on Politico the day before.

Just when it appeared his tweety bird head would surely explode, NBC political director Chuck Todd saved the day by gently pointing out to Matthews that what he was saying lacked what you like to call your factual foundation.

Nonplussed by having uttered utter nonsense for hours, Matthews quickly moved on to his next imaginary opinion.

Unsung heroine: Progressives, populists and all right-thinking people everywhere owe a big Ooh Rah to Gale Kaufman, who worked pro bono managing the David-Goliath upset campaign against Prop. 16.

While Pacific Greed & Extortion Co. spent $46 million of ratepayers money on its cynical scheme to block local governments from contracting for cheap public power around the state, Kaufman had a campaign budget of $90,000 which she expertly deployed to foil the evil corporate plot.

Final score:

Good guys 2,015,297   $  0.04 per vote.
Bad guys 1,830,278   $ 25.13 per vote.

Mwahaha.

We’re just sayin’: Our Department of So Ten Minutes Ago Cliches and Worn Out Slang is calling for a moratorium on the use of the phrase “Game On” in all California political stories between now and the November election. Don’t make us use your names.

Year of the Woman meets Mean Girls: Hurricane Carly, who was bald fercrineoutloud after chemo for breast cancer and got a pass from everyone about her ravaged looks, now has dyed her growback hair black with some greasy product she got at Target and while she’s waiting to do an interview on KXTV in Sacramento, she makes a crack about Barbara Boxer’s hair! (Not to mention her [jealous?] trash talking of eMeg for going on Sean Hannity). CNN has the outtake. This is the kind of stuff that makes her so repulsive to some people (we name no names).

Press Clips: Morain, Marinucci & a Tale of 2 Tic Tocs

Friday, March 26th, 2010

What is eMeg so afraid of? Although our friend Dan Morain has become a full-fledged, thumb-sucking (all rise) Opinion Page Columnist, the guy just can’t stop himself from doing Actual Reporting. That’s why he’s the winner of this week’s coveted Little Pulitzer for Investigative Punditry, for his look inside Meg Whitman’s Proust-length campaign spending report, a piece that included an angle we didn’t see anywhere else:

She also frets about security.

Whitman has paid $204,000 to John W. Endert, a former eBay security executive who has a permit to carry firearms and describes himself as experienced in corporate investigations, executive protection and threat mitigation. She categorized the $10,500 per month expenditure as a campaign worker salary.

Whitman paid $3,500 to what she called a “campaign consultant.” The recipient, Walsingham Associate Inc., says on its Web site that it specializes in detection of eavesdropping equipment.

Last year, Whitman’s campaign paid $20,383 to a company called Western Limited and called the expenditure “polling and survey research.” Western Limited describes itself as a private investigations firm that seeks to “solve your case – whether it is obtaining damaging video, locating the background records that you need, or obtaining a statement that helps you make a claims or business decision.”

All this, plus details of eMeg’s luxury private jet travel and a close look at her catering bill that was almost as hard-hitting as our own.

Why it matters what candidates say: In his infinite wisdom, Joe Mathews has taught all us geezers that it’s a waste of time to write down the actual words that politicians actually speak. Now, it turns out, once in a while, their utterances actually become newsworthy. Say it ain’t so Joe!

Joe Garofoli and Carla Marinucci, the Twin Terrors of Fifth & Mish, were the first to jump on Her Megness for a total flip flop about releasing her tax returns, which was only fitting as it was Costco Carla who raised the question, during Whitman’s breakthrough media scrum in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara at the GOP convention, that elicited the quickly broken promise to make public 25 years of tax returns.

ABC (Always Believe Calbuzz): The Get a Life Division of our Department of Obscure Campaign Intelligence was the first to throw a penalty flag at eMeg, more than two weeks ago, for her dog-ass idea of organizing legislative “teams” to implement her personal agenda for California:

As we may have mentioned once or twice, eMeg’s major downside is that she appears not to understand that politics is a give-and-take, give-some-to-get-some business, that legislators are also elected by the people, and that the Capitol is a teeming cacophony of conflicting interests, not the site of an Imperial Governorship. In the KNBC interview, she made quite clear that she sees the role of lawmakers as secondary, when she graciously said they’d be welcome to serve on her “jobs team” or her “schools team.”

“Where do I sign up?” Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is no doubt asking.

Now comes the B Minus to report that Whitman not only isn’t backing away from this ludicrous notions, she’s expanding on it, demonstrating once again her staggering lack of understanding of how Sacramento works.

Which begs the question: Since some of the people around her do understand how the legislative process works and how the Legislature and the governor interact, is she just so pig-headed, she simply ignores advice from those in the know around her? Or are her legions of purse carriers just so blinded by the huge sums of money they’re sucking out of the campaign that they’re afraid to challenge her?

Her authentically alien approach to governing — I’ll decide what should happen and everyone will join teams to make those things happen — raises another key question: Is Long Island really another planet?

Health Care Hotline: Who’s the real hero who saved health care reform?

On Sunday, the NYT, in a P1 triple signer tic toc by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, gave the nod to Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

In a series of impassioned conversations, over the telephone and in the Oval Office, she conveyed her frustration to the president, according to four people familiar with the talks. If she and Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, were going to stick out their necks for Mr. Obama’s top legislative priority, Ms. Pelosi wanted assurances that the president would too. At the White House, aides to Mr. Obama say, he also wanted assurances; he needed to hear that the leaders could pass his far-reaching plan.

“We’re in the majority,” Ms. Pelosi told the president. “We’ll never have a better majority in your presidency in numbers than we’ve got right now. We can make this work.”

One day later, however, the Washpost’s Ceci Connolly credited President Obama for his “singular” performance in saving the day, in her own 8 zillion word narrative reconstruction:

The remarkable change in political fortunes thrust Obama into a period of uncertainty and demonstrated the ability of one person to control the balance of power in Washington. On Jan. 19, that person seemed to be(newly elected Massachusetts Senator Scott) Brown.

But as the next 61 days would show, culminating in Sunday night’s historic vote, the fate of the legislation ultimately rested in the hands of Obama, who in the hours before Brown’s victory was growing increasingly frustrated as Pelosi detailed why no answer was in sight.

Intriguingly, both pieces used essentially the same anecdotal lede – the top-dog meetings at the White House in the immediate wake of Brown’s stunning victory – but reached entirely different conclusions.

Three dots are better than two: Credit LAT man Evan Halper for noting Jerry Brown’s nifty job of threading the needle on health care, paying lip service to looking into GOP demands that he join other attorneys general in a constitutional challenge to health care, while making it perfectly clear he would do no such thing…Perceptual scoop honors to Washpost whiz kid Ezra Klein for beating the pack to the story of how Republican Beltway types are now backing away from their angry promise to repeal the health care legislation…

More medical meanderings: Kudos to Dan Weintraub at Healthy Cal for a clear, detailed and useful Sunday look at exactly what was in the damn bill in advance of the big vote…HT to Hall of Fame Calbuzzer Kam Kuwata for pointing us to this excellent health care mash-up.

Just because: Andy Borowitz does it again.