At first glance the news release from the Bill Simon campaign looked stop-the-presses good: "Simon Leads Among Highest-Propensity Voters
Ah, but there's always a "but"--and, in this case, several.
For starters, highest-propensity voters are top-heavily Republican. Remember Pete Wilson being dramatically ambulanced to Capitol Hill and carried to the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1985 to cast an important budget vote after he'd had his appendix cut out? There's your highest-propensity voter.
Deeper in the very carefully structured news release is the information that the poll found that 35% of registered Democrats want a new governor (meaning that as many as 65% do not, and that 35% doesn't necessarily want a Gov. Simon). Ditto 40% of Latino voters, same considerations.
And the poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a big Republican polling outfit out of Virginia. Not a surprise, you go to your friends, but in this case they went to the hired help too. Public Opinion Strategies has been paid tens of thousands by the Simon campaign over recent months.
Most candidates who publish their own polls usually note it's their hired pollsters doing the work. It's almost like heading a news release, "Candidate X: Best, Brightest and Likeliest to Floss," quoting Mom. Except you wouldn't have to pay Mom for the compliments.
First National Bank of Hollywood Hit Again
The money will be spread all over the country, but once again, it comes straight outta Hollywood.
Barbra 'n' Barry, Streisand and Manilow, will be taking the stage and singing--individually and, who knows, maybe a deux--to raise money for Democratic candidates trying to retake the House of Representatives. The Sept. 29 event at the Kodak Theatre, new home to the Oscars, will raise cash for the hottest 40 congressional races around the country.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the DCCC to those inside the Beltway and in the loop, ran a full-page ad about the event--not in any organs of opinion and politics, but in Variety--headlined, "The Fund-Raising Effort to Win a Democratic Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives Invite You to Join Them for the National Democratic Gala."
Ticket price is $500 for each of the 3,400 seats; you can do the math. And if anyone was hoping Bill Clinton might take it into his head to show up with his saxophone ... he'll be overseas.
GOP Candidates Digging Deep for Dollars
Down the November ballot are the names of some statewide Republican candidates who are hurting. By August, their campaign reports showed they'd collected only one dollar for every 10 bagged by their Democratic opponents.
So Gerry Parsky, FOB (Friend of Bush) and the more moderate muscle behind the state's GOP, had a plan. He brought together the seven candidates for constitutional offices (lieutenant governor, secretary of state and such) and made them an offer that ... well, you've heard that bit.
The plan was this: The party would raise a million bucks for TV ads for them to air in the last six days before the election--if they could match it (meaning rake up about $143,000 each).
It's a deal, but it's still been a struggle, says Greg Conlon, who's running for state treasurer against the incumbent, Phil Angelides, and who--as of August--had about $28,200 to Angelides' $6.1 million.
"The party is focused on Bill" Simon, Conlon said. A pretty fuzzy focus, considering that Simon himself has a six-to-one cash disadvantage on Davis. But now that his family firm is off the hook for $78 million after a judge threw out a civil judgment against the company, he may have a little more loose change to spread around.
But Will They Fill Up Their Blue Books?
If there are some empty seats in L.A.'s City Council chamber this Thursday and Friday, it may be because a few council members, and even more of their deputies, are at USC, taking notes and cramming for the city's big final exam, its SAT: secession.
The conference isn't about the flashy politics of drawing a line in the sand at the Cahuenga Pass, but about the more sober realities of secession, evidence such seminar titles as "Secession: Size and Governance" and others on the particulars of boroughs and neighborhood councils.
The conference, with its big-name social-science players, is sponsored by the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation. Haynes was chief architect of the city's 1925 charter, with its then-revolutionary provisions for (gasp) citizens commissions. That makes the Haynes archive at UCLA the Federalist Papers of L.A. Without the wigs.
* State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, whose only point in common with Gray Davis is that both are Democrats, says he'll work to help Davis beat Bill Simon by a large margin, even though he couldn't resist adding, "I don't necessarily think that anybody who beats Bill Simon by a big margin could consider that a mandate about much, except Bill Simon."