Tales from the Trail

California negative ad throwdown

Jerrymeg

Sarah McBride takes a look at the campaign ads in the California race.

California’s gubernatorial frontrunner Jerry Brown pledged Tuesday to remove all negative ads one week before the November 2 election, but only if his rival went along. Meg Whitman, the billionaire Republican with a big self-financed campaign, wasn’t willing to go quite that far.

At first, neither candidate seemed crazy about the proposal from Matt Lauer, moderator of the candidates’ on-stage conversation at the annual Women’s Conference in Long Beach, with current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sitting in the middle. As the audience clapped and cheered at the suggestion, the two hopefuls sat stonefaced on stage, their hands motionless in their laps.

“Sometimes negativity was in the eye of the beholder,” said Brown. But perhaps remembering his lead in the polls, he quickly turned generous and said he would if Whitman would.

Whitman, the former eBay CEO, came back with a counteroffer: she would take down ads considered personal attacks, but not those on the issues.

Then she started swinging hard. “I think it’s really important for people to understand what the track record was as governor,” she said, referring to Brown’s previous stint as governor. “Jerry Brown in many ways left this state in worse shape than when he found it. Before Brown could respond fully, Lauer jumped back in, saying he had to wrap up the session.

Aide to rival calls California’s Whitman a ‘whore’

USA-ELECTIONS/CALIFORNIAUSA-ELECTIONS/CALIFORNIACalifornia’s personal and unpleasant governor’s race just took another step toward the bottom as a tape emerged in which an aide to Democrat Jerry Brown calls Republican Meg Whitman a “whore” for her attempts to get endorsements from law enforcement.

The Los Angeles Times was given the tape of an answering machine message from Brown to a law enforcement group. Brown apparently didn’t hang up, and so a private conversation was captured on tape. The Times’ blog is here, with the audio tape is at the bottom or here.

The governor’s race is nearly tied — Brown’s taken a small lead recently — and it is nasty, thanks to a fight over Whitman’s hiring of an illegal immigrant housekeeper. Brown, the maverick and former governor running for another try at the top job, says she’s not taking the type of responsibility that she should, given her position that employers should be held accountable for hiring illegal workers. She calls that a lie and says she didn’t know her housekeeper was in the United States illegally until the woman confessed — and Whitman says she’s willing to take a lie detector test.

Reuters-Ipsos poll: Democrats hold slim leads in California races

Democrats are leading in top California races a month before the election, but by margins too tight to offer great comfort.

USA-POLITICS/Senator Barbara Boxer leads Republican challenger Carly Fiorina in the Senate race 49-45 percent among POLITICS-USA/likely voters, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll conducted Oct. 2-4.

That 4-point difference is smaller than the 4.7 percentage point margin of error which shows how close the race is between the three-term senator and the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Ipsos pollsters say it is unlikely, with the higher margin of error and all, that the findings were reverse. Boxer has consistently had a lead over Fiorina in public opinion polls.

Lawyer promises new bombshell in Whitman housekeeper flap

USA-ELECTIONS/WHITMAN

The political flap over what California Republican Meg Whitman knew about her former housekeeper’s illegal immigration status — and when she knew it — appears to be heading for a new climax.

The woman’s lawyer says she will release evidence today that Whitman lied when she denied knowing her ex-employee was an undocumented worker.
    
Nicky Diaz, who worked for Whitman from 2000 to 2007, emerged this week to air tearful allegations that the Republican gubernatorial nominee knowingly employed her illegally and treated her poorly.

Whitman supporters say the allegations are a political smear timed to surface in the closing weeks of her campaign against Democratic rival Jerry Brown.
    
Whitman says Diaz is lying and maintains the former housekeeper provided a Social Security card and other documents to show she could work legally in the United States when she was hired. 
    
The former eBay executive says she first learned of Diaz’ illegal status in 2009, after she had begun her run for governor, and fired the woman on the spot.

Gay marriage ruling has California, and Democrat Jerry Brown’s Twitter feed, buzzing

Democrat Jerry Brown has long been an outspoken critic of California’s ban on same-sex marriages,  even refusing to Jerry_Browndefend the voter approved law known as Proposition 8  in court in his role as California’s attorney general  – a move that won the hearts of gay and civil rights activists even as it raised eyebrows among legal scholars .

So before U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker even ruled on Thursday that gay marriages can resume next week, while those who oppose them appeal his earlier decision finding the ban unconstitutional, Jerry Brown the candidate for governor was Tweeting out his support:

“Hoping Judge Walker will allow same-sex couples in CA to marry while the Prop 8 case appeal is pending. We should find out before noon,” Brown (or someone on his staff) Tweeted about two hours before the ruling.

California gay marriage ruling has candidates quickly taking sides

With a pair of too-close-to-call political campaigns heating up in California — for governor and for Democrat Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat – the candidates wasted no time in staking out their positions after a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s ban on gay marriages.

jerrybrownIn a case that most believe the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker on Wednesday ruled that California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 was unconstitutional because it unfairly singled out gay and lesbian couples as being forbidden to legally wed, violating their rights to due process and equal protection under the Constitution.

For Democrat Jerry Brown, who is running against Republican Meg Whitman for governor, the case offered a natural opening: As the state’s attorney general, he has refused to defend Proposition 8 in court, instead filing a brief with the state Supreme Court to overturn it in a move that raised eyebrows among legal scholars but won him support among gay  and civil rights rights activists.

Meg Whitman’s Facebook ad nets 20,000 clicks — and a message about jobs

USA/Republican Meg Whitman’s campaign says the results are in from her innovative Facebook “polling ads,” which asked Californians to choose the issue most important to them. The message came back loud and clear:  Jobs.

The Whitman campaign said its poll, which ran from July 27 to July 31, drew 20,000 Facebook respondents — with 42 percent of them saying that jobs were their number one priority in the 2010 governor’s race.  Not surprising at all in a state with double-digit unemployment.

Another 32 percent voted for fixing education in California, with 26 percent saying that cutting state spending was most critical.  Whitman, who has said that putting Californians back to work is the number one goal of her campaign, released the poll results in a Facebook video.

Meg Whitman breaks new virtual ground with Facebook ‘polling’ ads

USA-POLITICS/CALIFORNIA

In 2010 a candidate would be ill-advised to ignore the Internet, especially if he or she wants to reach younger voters who aren’t paying attention to more traditional campaigns — or, even worse, are tuning out politics entirely.

And Republican Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is running for California  governor against Democrat Jerry Brown,  certainly isn’t the first candidate to advertise on Facebook in hopes of tapping into its nearly 500 million users.

But Whitman’s campaign says she has become the first political candidate to use “polling ads” on Facebook — or spots that engage users, asking them to decide which issues they want to hear the candidate address.

California city’s mess a golden opportunity for Jerry Brown?

Democrat Jerry Brown has taken some heat, even within his own party, for his seemingly minimalist campaign for California Jerry_Browngovernor — which so far has involved few rallies, speeches or even TV commercials — and which some say has allowed Republican Meg Whitman to make critical inroads with Latinos and other voting blocs in a race with national political implications.

Meanwhile supporters are quick to point out that Brown, the state’s attorney general, must husband his resources against Whitman, a billionaire who is  largely bankrolling her own campaign — and can’t possibly hope to match the former eBay CEO ad for ad all the way until the November election.

But political experts say a scandal involving the the massive salaries being paid to local officials in the small Los Angeles suburb of Bell, California — while potentially bad news for state and even local taxpayers – may have given Brown just the shot in the arm he needs.

In California, no voting bloc is safe

First Republican Meg Whitman, a political novice running for California governor, seemed to catch her Democratic opponent, MegJerry Brown, napping with an aggressive early push for Latino voters –  a voting bloc that has proven tough for her party to crack.  

Whitman has run a series of Spanish-language TV commercials and billboards that, according to the latest p0lls, paid off with a 14-point gain among Latinos – despite the still simmering furor over a crackdown on illegal immigrants in neighborhing Arizona that was signed into law by Republican  Governor Jan Brewer.

Brown, the state’s attorney general and a veteran California politician who served as California governor from 1975 to 1983, has been criticized within his party for being slow to respond and taking the Latino vote for granted.