His name is Bill Simon.
Did not Mr. Simon get his hat handed to him in 2002 against the last incompetent California governor, Democrat Gray Davis?
Did Mr. Simon not prove that a solid conservative can not win a race for statewide office in the not-so Golden State?
Well, let me answer some of that and provide some information that would make a second run for governor a better one.
Firstly, Mr. Simon did not get his hat handed to him by former Governor Davis.
In the 2002 governor's race, Mr. Simon got 42% of the vote compared to incumbent Governor Davis 47% of the vote.
Secondly, Mr. Simon was in a three-way GOP contest for the nomination against the moderate mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan and the then secretary of state and more ideological soul mate, Bill Jones.
So, it took a lot of money to win that race and to introduce Mr. Simon to the voters of California. In the meantime, Gray Davis was raising then untold sums of money for his race for reelection.
Mr. Simon had to get out what made him different from the incumbent. And that was hard when he was being vastly outspent. But, it was not impossible and Mr. Simon ran a credible race against an old warhorse like Gray Davis.
Mr. Simon is a conservative and on the issues he will govern as such.
This link provides a look at the issues that were important in the 2002 governor's race.
And let's look at those issues Mr. Simon highlighted in 2002.
1) Our roads are the most congested in America.
Can not argue with that. It is a fact that here in California, we have the most congested roads and while there was a bond issue passed in 2004 to supposedly alleviate that problem, it will take years to complete and the likelihood is that the problem will only get worse.
2) California public schools rank near the bottom nationwide.
And that is also true. California spends some of the most money nationwide to produce a lot of functional illiterates. Over 50% of freshmen entering the California State University system have to take remedial classes. That is an absolute indictment of the public schools in California.
3) We pay the country's highest electricity rates.
With governor Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger, that will get worse by 2010 because of all the ill-conceived green technology that he touts and has tried to get into law.
4) Our budget is out of balance and taxes are rising.
BINGO! That is the issue that will run through a 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
California tried with an actor that had no serious political ideology. Governor Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to get a series of reforms passed shortly after he won election in the infamous 2003 recall election of then Governor Davis. Since he went to far too fast and totally underestimated the opposition to those reforms, all failed in a special election. And after that, rather than try to take each issue one by one, he transformed into the "post-partisan" governor and essentially has governed like one of his in laws-the Kennedy family! Governor Benedict Arnold is proposing among other things raising the car registration fee-which is one of the reasons Gray Davis lost his job in the first place-and the state sales tax from 7.25% to 8.25%. In Los Angeles county, that will be 10.25%-the highest in the United States.
So, how can someone who is a solid conservative win the GOP nod and then run a good enough campaign to win election as governor of California?
Look, Mr. Simon has been there already. The only other serious candidate that may give Mr. Simon a race is the current state Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner. He is seen as a moderate, although not nearly a liberal as Gov. Benedict Arnold. If Mr. Poizner wants higher office, he should run for the United States senate. Lord knows we need to get rid of the dolt we have now, Sen. Barbara Boxer. And, Mr. Poizner will have a good record to run on.
So, with little if any opposition, Mr. Simon can spend time fundraising and trying to get the Democrats to nominate someone as wacky as their last gubernatorial candidate, Phil Angelides. A lot of people want to run for California governor and have a D after their name. One is the current mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villa. Oh, you know him as Villaraigosa, but once his wife divorces him, she will take back her name, Raigosa. Good for her.
Another potential candidate is current United States senator Diane Feinstein. And there are other, lesser-known figures.
So, with no internal opposition and a lot of time to define the other side, Mr. Simon will be able to define the issues. And be able to run against both the incumbent governor and the Democrat-dominated legislature. He can and should fault them for not solving problems. He can and should point out that Gov. Benedict Arnold should have used the opportunity that the current budget crisis has had to argue to tax and regulatory reform. So far, Gov. Benedict Arnold has not done so. In fact, he has chided Republicans in the legislature from doing just that.
Mr. Simon should make a case that the governor and the state superintendent of education need to work together for viable and serious educational reform. Again, that has not been done under this current legislature and governor.
Mr. Simon needs to tout the fact that he has been a businessman and a problem solver. And, a political outsider that has the will to not give up the fight. He needs to argue that reform will be the only way to solve the budget and tax crises facing California. As well as the education crises.
One other thing.
The statewide DDBMSOWM will focus on the social issues as they always do with a conservative and Republican. My advice to Mr. Simon, should he chose to run and be the GOP standard bearer. Do not run away from them. Talk about why you are pro-life. Why you believe that marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman. Why we have worse than a culture of corruption but a culture of despair. But, be honest and admit that government can not necessarily solve these problems but can set the tone as to how these issues can be dealt with. There is nothing worse than a social conservative politician that tries to downplay these issues.
Bill Simon is the best choice for California Republicans to keep the governor's office and actually govern as a conservative Republican.
Therefore, I urge Bill Simon to run for the Republican nomination for governor of California in 2010.