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GOP Announcing Candidates For 2010 Election


California Republicans are starting to announce their candidacies. We're joined on Morning Edition by non-partisan Sacramento Political Consultant Leo McElroy.

California Republicans are starting to announce their candidates for the 2010 elections. We're joined on Morning Edition by non-partisan Sacramento Political Consultant Leo McElroy. Well, former eBay chief Meg Whitman, Leo, has announced her intentions to run for governor. Why do you think she's already facing some criticism?

LEO MCELROY: Well, a) she's finding out what life is like in that harsh spotlight that we shine on politicians, and b) she's facing the fact -- whether it was a mistake or whether it was bad judgment -- she's made some misstatements in the past, as she's characterizing them, about her own voting record. And this really puts her in a difficult position. She had had a spotty voting record in California, and she had announced that when she moved here in 1998 she had registered as a "decline to state." Turns out she didn't register till 2002, and didn't register as a Republican until two years ago.

DWANE BROWN: So are you saying she didn't vote?

MCELROY: That's correct. That's correct -- can't register, can't vote. And, so, she had a record for four years in California, at least, of not voting, and then after that, as I understand it, her voting record was somewhat spotty. It's a little tough to explain that to the party faithful who are people who really care about politics, and who really believe that you ought to be out there voting every time.

ALAN RAY: A couple other Republicans have announced their candidacies as well. You've got the state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. The five-time congressman Tom Campbell -- I would guess at least Tom Campbell's going to have a tough sell selling himself to the Republican base.

MCELROY: Campbell really has a problem with the Republican base. Firstly, Campbell at one point was a Democrat. He has re-registered as a Republican. His elected office has always been as a Republican. He was the finance director for a while under Schwarzenegger. But he's very moderate and one of his key stands, for instance, that upsets the Republican base, is that he's in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and that's a red flag in front of a bull for the conservative base of the Republican party.

BROWN: Well, a few other Republicans are challenging Senator Barbara Boxer. Tell us about former Hewlett Packard chief Carly Fiorina and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore of Irvine.

MCELROY: Well, nobody's going to tell you very much about Chuck DeVore, despite Chuck's attempts to make himself well-known. He really isn't well-known, he was not a standout voice in the legislature generally. And he's not well-known across California. He has very, very, very low name recognition in this state, so he's gonna have a lot of defining to do. And defining takes money and the question is whether DeVore has the financial base to instruct a lot of Californians on who he is and what he stands for. Carly Fiorina was a key adviser to John McCain, and was widely regarded as political fodder -- somebody who could really run for office. But, her stance during the time that she was president of Hewlett Packard, she was pretty controversial, inside and outside the company. And there are a lot of people that are saying that that's going to come back to bite her.

RAY: Lawmakers sent Governor Schwarzenegger hundreds of bills over the final weeks of the legislative session. He's signed two so far, and vetoed one. He's threatening to veto a lot of the rest of them, if not all. Will he cave in on this?

MCELROY: Yes, I think he will, at least on some of them. The test bill was one that they had sent him before, when he was threatening to veto, they sent him the one non-controversial bill they had that had passed with no dissenting votes. That was the bill to declare Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans' Day. And, he vetoed it. And, the legislature has since sent it back to him and he has now signed it. So he's indicated there are some bills that he's going to sign, and there are some functionally that probably he needs to sign but the governor really isn't happy about it. He's not happy about the fact that they didn't get a lot of the key work done during the special session.

BROWN: We've got about 20 seconds, Leo, why is he holding out saying that he needs water legislation passed before anything else?

MCELROY: Well, it's his belief that if they don't muscle up and pass water legislation it's probably never going to get done and the Sacramento Delta is in critical condition right now. It needs help, and there isn't any help on the way.

BROWN: Non-partisan Sacramento Political Consultant, Leo McElroy.

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