Fallen star: With his approval rating in the 30’s, and his campaign war chest already depleted, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will announce that he is running for re-election today at noon in San Diego.
In reality, of course, the governor has never stopped running, and the Bush/Rove style permanent campaign is costing him plenty:
[Like] other major problems that Schwarzenegger faces, his poor financial shape is at least partly a self-inflicted injury. His campaign committees reported spending nearly $26 million in the first six months of the year, leaving his political accounts all but depleted by the end of June. The $1.2 million in cash left was entirely offset, and then some, by $3.8 million in debts.
His summer fundraising has yielded nearly $7.5 million in new money. But unions and Democratic Party groups are still likely to continue vastly outspending the Republican governor on TV ads in the 53 days left in the fall initiative campaign.
Even by the costly standards of California, the most expensive state for running campaigns, Schwarzenegger’s spending on consultants, pollsters and other vendors has been lavish. It included $5 million in the spring for television ads that failed to stop his slide in popularity, more than $550,000 in pollster fees and unspecified sums for ballot measures that Schwarzenegger abandoned.
With its vast and varied geography – much of which is surprisingly rural and remote – the huge media markets and a population larger than Canada or Australia, California elections are won almost exclusively via television advertising. The governor’s enemies, particularly unions representing teachers, firemen and policemen, have been savaging him very effectively in ads that have been running since spring.
The ads feature real teachers, cops and firemen in their workplaces speaking directly to the camera. In each, the speaker explains how the governor made campaign promises that he has since broken. And that now he’s trying to blame public servants for his – and the state’s – political and finanical woes.
The ad’s also point out that the governor has been raising money out of state to create what one of his aides described as a campaign to create a “phenomenon of anger” among voters toward teachers, cops and firemen.
The campaign, such as it is, has indeed caused a phenomenon of anger – but the bile is directed at Gov. Schwarzenegger, not the public servants he seeks to impugn.