What Campbell’s Move to Senate Race Means


tomcampbellTo the non-surprise of Calbuzz readers, Tom Campbell is set to announce on Wednesday that he’s jumping from the governor’s race to the Republican primary for Senate.

The most interesting thing we’ve heard about that development is that the Field Poll is, uh, in the field right now and the wily and resourceful Mark DiCamillo had the wit and foresight to ask horserace questions in the Senate race with two and three candidates, plus a second-choice question in the governor’s race. Should be out later next week.

Beyond that, the impact of Campbell’s move on the governor’s race is probably minimal. We could argue either way that it benefits Meg Whitman – because her mostly moderate politics are closer to Campbell’s than are Steve Poizner’s born-again conservative views – or that it helps the Commish – by giving him a clear shot as the alternative to eMeg. We’ll make a stronger argument when we have some data.

However, the bottom line is that Campbell had about a buck-and-a-half to spend on his campaign, while Whitman and Poizner have money coming out their ears, so it ultimately won’t make a huge difference whether he’s in or out of the Republican primary contest.

As for the effect on the Senate race, Campbell will still face the same type of financial struggle that he had in the gov’s race, although against only one rich candidate, Carly Fiorina, instead of two.

The conventional wisdom is that Campbell’s entry will hurt Fiorina because it pulls moderate support from her, while right-wing Assemblyman Chuck DeVore will hang onto the hardcore conservative base. But we’ve reported previously on the counter-intuitive, and possibly anomalous, findings of the LA Times/USC poll that suggest there’s overlap between Campbell supporters and those of the right-wing Assemblyman Chuck Devore.

Guess we’ll wait for the Field Poll to find out.

PS: Kudos to Merc Newsers Ken McLaughlin and Mike Zapler who had the story first at 12:05 pm followed by Chronicler Joe Garofoli a full hour later.

subscribe to comments RSS

There is one comment for this post

  1. avatar Dan Richard says:

    Not sure it matters, but of course in a federal race the campaign contribution limits are significantly lower than for the gubernatorial election. Moreover, Mr. Campbell can’t transfer any of the funds he’s raised to his federal campaign. He is allowed, as I understand it, to refund those dollars to donors and ask them to contribute them under the federal campaign rules, but I don’t think anyone’s ever really pulled that off.

Please, feel free to post your own comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.