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THE RECALL CAMPAIGN

Simon Launches 'Shadow Campaign' to Recall Race

He plans to press the candidates to be more specific but declines to endorse a Republican.

September 05, 2003|Matea Gold | Times Staff Writer

Former gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon Jr. said Thursday that he planned to run a "shadow campaign" through the rest of the recall effort, delivering policy speeches culled from his two failed bids for governor.

The onetime GOP nominee, who dropped his campaign to succeed Gov. Gray Davis on Aug. 23, saying there were too many Republicans in the race, said he wants to share his knowledge and push the remaining candidates to be specific in their platforms.

Simon said he would like to be seen as "a shadow candidate that's helpful to everybody."

"We really have a blueprint for California's future, and I'd like to make that available," he said in an interview at The Times. "I'd hate to have that be on a shelf somewhere and have somebody dust it off in 10 years and say, 'Hey, some of this was right.' "

With so many candidates already competing for air time, Simon acknowledged that he may not attract a lot of attention.

But he said he had valuable suggestions to offer without being "a fifth wheel, so to speak."

"I have great confidence that I have my finger on the pulse of what people are thinking in California," Simon said.

"And right now, I don't believe our people want slogans. I think they want solutions."

The investment manager from Pacific Palisades said he would appear regularly on talk radio, give occasional speeches on the budget and the state's infrastructure and do weekly political commentary with City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa on KABC-TV Channel 7 in Los Angeles.

He will also continue to campaign for the recalling of Davis.

So far, he said, he is not planning to endorse any of the three prominent Republicans remaining in the race -- state Sen. Tom McClintock, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger or former baseball commissioner Peter V. Ueberroth.

All three have asked Simon for his support, underscoring the sway he still holds with conservative voters who rallied around his candidacy.

Simon said another GOP candidate will eventually have to bow out if the Republicans are going to win the governor's office.

"At some point, they will split the vote," he said.

He declined to say who he thinks should step aside. But Simon offered praise for McClintock, saying he has some "very well-articulated ideas" and urged Schwarzenegger to lay out more of his positions.

"Where does he stand on the budget; in terms of balancing it, how's he going to do it?" Simon asked.

In his first interview since dropping out of the race, Simon appeared reflective and cheerful, calling his decision to abandon his candidacy "a little sad."

But he said that he hoped to run for office again.

"Actually, being out of the race now has been a relief from the standpoint of not having to call people and ask them for money," Simon said. "I can call people and ask 'em, 'What can I do for you?' "

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