The Terminator is back. Arnold wins again in California -
11-08-2006, 12:24 PM
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wins reelection
By Michael Finnegan, Times Staff Writer
10:25 PM PST, November 7, 2006
A year after his crushing defeat in the special election, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won a second term today in a landslide over Democrat Phil Angelides. Voters were also leaning toward approval of most - if not all - of a bond package that would launch California's biggest public construction boom in decades, according to early returns.
At a celebration in Beverly Hills, confetti rained on the governor and his family as Schwarzenegger thanked supporters.
"Wow, this is really exciting," he said. "What a fantastic evening. I love doing sequels, I love doing sequels, I tell you," Schwarzenegger said.
"But this without any doubt is my favorite sequel. What a great night and what a great victory."
The governor said he believed he had been given a mandate and pledged to move the state ahead in the next four years.
"I will protect your values and I will protect your dreams," he pledged.
Schwarzenegger praised Angelides and said the Democrat had telephoned to concede. It was a gracious call, the governor said, adding that he looked forward to working with Angelides in the future.
The state expected 4.9 million Californians to vote at polling stations and another 3.8 million to cast absentee ballots, but the final turnout number - likely to be just over half of registered voters - is weeks away.
Overall, minimal disruptions occurred, most of them snafus such as paper jams and polling places that opened late, said Ashley Snee Giovannettone, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office.
For many Californians, the election's main draw was the national midterm vote, even if the state's political map offered few opportunities to influence which party controls Congress.
"I'm anti-Bush and wanted to stick it to him," said Santa Monica resident Sandy Jones, a woman in her 30s who voted a straight Democratic ticket.
But the highest profile race was the contest for governor.
Schwarzenegger's reelection caps a remarkable comeback from the political collapse he suffered last year, when he pursued a combative agenda that enraged organized labor and the Democrats who control the Legislature.
His moves to curb their clout and restrain state spending touched off a television ad assault that badly damaged his image. For months, teachers, nurses and firefighters told viewers that Schwarzenegger had broken his word - mainly his vow to champion public education. In the special election one year ago, voters roundly rejected his four ballot measures.
Chastened by defeat, Schwarzenegger launched his reelection drive with profuse public apologies that ultimately led many Californians to forgive him.
The governor also shook up his staff, hiring a tightly disciplined bipartisan team to chart his path to a second term. He named a no-nonsense Democrat, Susan Kennedy, to run his administration as chief of staff, a job she once held under Gov. Gray Davis. And he named two Republican veterans of President Bush's political operation to oversee his reelection team: chief strategist Matthew Dowd and campaign manager Steve Schmidt.
By all accounts, they ran a nearly flawless campaign. Schwarzenegger's communications shop choreographed virtually every moment he spent in public, whether in a cornfield with farmers outside Bakersfield or on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
Key to his winning formula was bipartisan cooperation with state lawmakers. For the first time in six years, California's governor and Legislature met the deadline for passing a budget. They agreed to put the historic $37-billion, public-works package on the November ballot. Together, they raised the state's minimum wage, approved prescription-drug discounts and agreed to mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, putting California in the vanguard of efforts to fight global warming.
The bipartisanship enabled Schwarzenegger to broaden his appeal to Democrats and independents, an essential task in a state where just over a third of registered voters are Republican.
Luck too played an important role in Schwarzenegger's recovery - most of all a brutal Democratic primary that crowned Angelides as his challenger. The treasurer was popular with liberals, a huge voting bloc in the primary. But he was poorly suited to compete on the broader terrain of a general election, given his long record of supporting tax hikes.
Last edited by sld; 11-08-2006 at 12:38 PM.
Reason: better title