With approval ratings in the 60s, Gov. Schwarzenegger appears to be invincible, and his ability to manipulate the national media – not to mention the international entertainment media – gives him edge over every conceivable contender, with the possible exception of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who would be pushing 80 at the end of her first term, if she chose to run. The first candidate to put his hat in the ring is state Treasurer Phil Angelides.
The resident state political expert at the LA Times , George Skelton, assesses early opposition to the Gubernator:
The [Angelides] strategy isn’t exactly to carve out the role of anti-Arnold for himself, because Angelides has been doing that practically from Day One of the Schwarzenegger administration. He’s now trying to make sure Democratic activists and ordinary voters know about it.
“I stood up and said Schwarzenegger was wrong and I didn’t care how high his poll numbers were or how big his megaphone was,” says Angelides. “And too many other Democrats laid down.”
He means [Atty. Gen. Bill ] Lockyer [Dem.], who acknowledged voting for Schwarzenegger in the recall election. “I think people ought to be judged by how they act in the crucible of critical times,” the treasurer asserts.
Angelides, 51, a rich Sacramento housing developer and former state party chairman who first was elected in 1998, says there’s another factor that distinguishes him from Lockyer: “I’m not a lifer in the public sector.” His 15 years as a developer, he contends, gave him “a keen understanding of what’s required to build a strong economy.”