Monday, February 16, 2009

Golden State politicos start looking at 2010

There will be a run on horse grooming supplies at the capital in the coming months as Democrats and Republicans start brushing and combing the white horses they will be be riding in 2010. Each gubernatorial hopeful will come charging onto the scene, touting themselves as the only person who really knows how to save California from its current financial mess.

With millions in their campaign war chests, policy advisers, media handlers, spokespeople, and every type of campaign staffer, right down to the 16 year old sons and daughters of big dollar donors, these candidates will be coming to a town hall meeting near you. If you are anywhere near a medium sized city, you will have a chance to shake hands, snap a photo or at least sit down to an overcooked chicken dinner with your favorite candidate, for a contribution of $100 to $5,000, depending on the zip code.

So who are the morning-line favorites some 21 months out? Not that it does much good, looking at the 2008 early Presidential front runners, you would have predicted a Hillary Clinton/Rudy Giuliani election. However, here in the Golden State, there are a few standouts that look to lead the field.

On the GOP side, 2010 might be the year of woman. Meg Whitman, a new face on the national political scene, was co-chair for the McCain/Palin ticket and brings a serious and impressive business resume to the race as the former CEO of eBay. She will be contending with Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner and former Congressman, Tom Campbell. Another interesting figure just off the main stage is former HP CEO, Carly Fiorina. A Governor Whitman - Lt. Governor Fiorina ticket could be the ultimate cross over ticket. In my humble opinion, Republicans will have to reach outside the current stable of politicians if they are to have any chance in 2010.

On the Democratic side, there are a few front runners, and whole herd of folks who want to be Governor more than life itself. California's Attorney General, Jerry Brown has a reported 3 million in cash for his 2010 run and he is a solid campaigner. Gavin Newsom, the playboy mayor of San Francisco was once thought to be in the mix as a top tier Democratic challenger, but his messy personal life seems to have put this brass ring out of reach, at least for this go around. There is always Lt. Governor John Garamendi, this guy will run for anything, anywhere and probably win. He is slick, slippery and he oozes politics from every poor on his magnificently coiffed head.

A guy who seems to be making a name for himself as the personal antagonist to the current Governor is State Controller, John Chiang. With Chiang hauling Governor Schwarzenegger to court every week to keep the state issuing checks it can't cash, Chiang will be the darling of the powerful public employee unions. That is a pretty good group to have behind you. Buckets, and I mean buckets, of cash from union dues that can instantly propel a person to front runner status. This could get very interesting.

So who will be the eventual nominees for Governor in 2010? We are a few hundred chicken dinners away from finding the answer.

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