In just over a week a red tsunami of epic proportions is likely to roll across America with the result likely to be a Republican House of Representatives and something close to an evenly divided Senate. Yet, curiously, California which more often than not leads national political trends is likely to buck this one and elect a Democratic Governor and Lieutenant Governor in the persons of Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. Meanwhile, a pitched Senate battle is also being fought between the evenly matched duo of Barbara Boxer and political neophyte Carly Fiorina who are running neck-and-neck.
While it looks like Fiorina who is closing in on the unpopular Boxer may eke out a one or two point win, it's looking as if Brown and Newsom will defeat their opponents, former Ebay executive Meg Whitman and the incumbent Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado.
Why? Because both Whitman and Maldonado have clumsily managed to tick off easily the most influential voices in the state of California when it comes to politics, John Kobylt and Ken Chimpau, better known as hosts of the John & Ken show on the state's powerhouse talk radio station, KFI.
The two are often identified in the press as conservatives, but anybody who listens to their show for more than half an hour will quickly realize that these two transplants from New Jersey don't care about most of the issues that excite conservatives, (they argue for legalizing pot for instance) but focus their ire on taxes, illegal immigration and general government corruption. And they especially can't stand politicians who don't speak plainly and consistently. And though their anger is usually reserved for Democrats because of their positions on taxes and immigration, they have saved their deepest contempt for Whitman and Maldonado and a visit to their endorsements page shows that the two are recommending that their legion of fans vote for Newsom over Maldonado and skip over Whitman whom they refer to as "Nutmeg" for an obscure Libertarian candidate named Dale Ogden.
Whitman angered the two over various flip-flops on immigration and a referendum related to Global Warming and made things worse by going on their show and sparring with them.
Maldonado aroused their ire by providing the key vote in the State Legislature for a budget deal that raised taxes last year, and that along with his generally more liberal voting record also managed to snag him a conservative opponent named Karen England who is waging a quixotic write-in campaign which may very well ensure a Newsom victory, an outcome England, whose website urges followers to BAG A RINO, doesn't seem to be too upset about.
If all of that sounds confusing, Carly Fiorina's situation is even more confusing. Although the talkers studiously avoided endorsing in the GOP primary, their hearts were clearly with Chuck DeVore, a straight-talking Tea-Party-supported Assemblyman, and when Fiorina defeated DeVore they seemed to take a wait-and-see approach. Although they seem less than thrilled with Fiorina in clips like this one, John & Ken nonetheless endorsed her and Fiorina has now closed the gap with Boxer to two points in the most recent poll.
California will likely be one of the few bright spots for Democrats on election night 2010 as its citizens elect an old face, Jerry Brown, and a new one, Gavin Newsom, but these victories will have less to do with either one of them, and more to do with their hapless opponents who never got their parties united behind them, and two of the state's most powerful political brokers whom they at various times ignored and angered, at their own political peril.
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