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Thursday, May 23, 2002

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I don't think things are going well for Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon here in California. First the Field Poll (the validity of which is always open to question) showed Davis back in the lead. More recently there have been a series of stories about Simon losing momentum. Admittedly these have come from liberal newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, which are certainly hoping for a Republican loss. But other, more objective sources like columnist Dan Walters, are coming to the same conclusion.

A few days ago I caught some comments by John & Ken on their afternoon radio talk show (KFI in Los Angeles). From the snippet I heard, I gathered that they'd interviewed Bill Simon the previous day.

It's important to understand that John & Ken hate Gray Davis with an intensity and passion that is unsurpassed by almost anything (with the possible exception of their distaste for Gary Condit). They desperately want Davis to lose in November, and they'd line up behind anybody who has any chance of defeating him.

They were railing against Bill Simon, because he had apparently given them the standard interview responses filled with all the standard cliches and evasions that politicians are prone to use to avoid being pinned down on issues. John & Ken were terrified that Simon was going to be buried by Davis unless Simon got his act together and and found some competent people to manage his campaign.

The above is only anecdotal evidence, but I get a similar impression from other sources. Gray Davis is facing what would normally be considered a "perfect storm" -- a combination of his insane energy policies, his openly-extortionary fundraising mania, his corrupt cronies, highly-hostile "allies" among Democratic legislators and liberal special-interest groups, a dislikable personality subject to raging temper tantrums, and a state budget that has plunged from a huge surplus to a vastly-larger deficit during his first term. If ever an incumbent Democratic Governor in solidly-Democratic California was beatable, Davis is that person.

But unless he changes what he's doing, Simon might very well blow his golden opportunity. I have no idea what kind of governor Simon would make, and I'm not overly optimistic on that score. But we all know what kind of governor Davis has been, and the thought of four more years under him makes a move to some other state increasingly attractive.








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