CHI Bulletin — **Special Edition** June 7, 2006 * Vol. 12, No. 4
ANGELIDES BEATS WESTLY IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: State Treasurer Phil Angelides won the Democratic gubernatorial primary election over state Controller Steve Westly by a margin of 47.9 percent – 43.4 percent. The election was characterized by low turnout, with just over one-third of eligible voters casting ballots. One explanation for voter apathy was the extraordinarily negative tone of virtually all campaigns.
LA Times exit polling showed that among Tuesday’s voters Gov. Schwarzenegger had higher favorables than either Angelides or Westly. The governor’s popularity has been increasing since its low point after the 2005 special election, and he is clearly moving toward the political center in an effort to capture moderate voters. The conventional wisdom is that Westly would have been a tougher opponent, but Angelides will unite the Big 4 Democratic factions: labor unions, trial lawyers, environmentalists and consumer activists. After the primary campaign’s attack ads, Angelides’ negatives are probably as high as they will ever be, and he will run as the underdog. He will solidify the Democratic base with his message that California should increase taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals and use the money for education and social services. Whether his personality and message will appeal to independent voters, who will almost certainly decide the November election, remains to be seen.
The stakes for the gubernatorial election are extremely high. For the past 25 years California’s business community has depended on GOP governors to counterbalance the Democratic-majority legislature’s agenda on issues like workers’ compensation, contracts for public employees’ unions, tort liability, mandatory health insurance and taxes. As veteran Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters puts it, “Publicly, Schwarzenegger and his challenger will talk about infrastructure, budget deficits, taxes and education — all legitimate issues that should be debated. But the real agenda is whether the Big Business-Big 4 struggle will continue to be a stalemate, or whether the latter will finally get their way in the Capitol.”
REPUBLICANS HOLD ON IN HISTORIC STRONGHOLD: Former Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray will make his return to Washington, representing California’s 50th congressional district, after narrowly defeating Democratic challenger Francine Busby to fill the remainder of the term vacated by former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Bilbray and Busby will once again face-off for the congressional seat in the regular November elections as both easily won their parties’ primaries. Bilbray has been a strong supporter of biomedical innovation in the state, supporting free trade, increased research funding and stronger intellectual property protections. This election received national attention because Busby ran a close race against Bilbray in a traditionally Republican district. To put things in perspective, though, Busby received about the same share of the vote (45 percent) that John Kerry won in the district in 2004. To view both candidates positions on issues affecting the life sciences community visit CHI’s voter guide.
PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS ROUNDUP: In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Democratic candidate John Garamendi narrowly defeated termed out state Senator Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) for the Democratic nomination. He will face-off against state Senator Tom McClintock (Thousand Oaks), who easily won the Republican nomination.
Secretary of State Bruce McPherson (R) will run against Democratic challenger, Debra Bowen, who easily defeated state Senator Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) in the primary. Bowen is currently serving in the state Senate representing the district of Marina Del Rey.
The races for both parties’ nominations for Controller were very closely contested. In the Democratic primary, current Chairman of the State Equalization Board John Chiang narrowly defeated state Senator Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana). Former Assemblyman Tony Strickland prevailed in a close race for the Republican nomination defeating current Senator Abel Maldanado (R-Santa Maria).
For Treasurer, current Attorney General Bill Lockyer will face-off against current Vice-Chairman of the State Board of Equalization Claude Parrish. Parrish defeated Republican Assemblyman Keith Richman (Northridge) for the parties’ nomination.
In the race for Attorney General, former California Governor and current Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown continued his run back into state politics by defeating Los Angeles City Attorney, Rocky Delgadillo in the Democratic primary. He will face-off against termed out state Senator Charles Poochigian (R-Fresno) in November.
The race for CA 22nd congressional district will pit former Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Bakersfield) against Democratic challenger Sharon Beery. McCarthy, who has been a strong supporter of the biomedical industry, received CHI’s Visionary Award in 2005 for his leadership in Sacramento. Candidates will vie for the vacated seat left by retiring member and Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee Bill Thomas.