It is a rare day that every major candidate for the California governor’s race is from Northern California, but that’s they way it is today. And specifically, all three Republicans are from the Silicon Valley. It’s generally a Democratic leaning area, as it is hard to find a Republican in the Bay Area at all. But in the Valley, Republicans tend to be the less dogmatic type than you’d find in the Central Valley. They’ll focus less on social issues and more on their own pocket books. They want a generally functional government, but would like to get it on the cheap.
And that’s why despite the fact that all three candidates are from the area, Tom Campbell’s wonky campaign carries some sway. In a poll by San Jose State’s Survey & Public Research Institute (PDF, Campbell was shown with a pretty hefty lead in Silicon Valley. While the poll was quite small and the margin of error was huge (6.9%), the size of the lead means there is something to this data. Campbell is at 39%, Whitman 11%, Poizner 7, and the famous “Undecided” at 41.
Campbell is a wonk and a bit of a nerd. And perhaps that is what is playing so well down there. Or perhaps it is the fact that he has represented much of the region when he was in Congress. But for whatever reason, Silicon Valley Republicans are leaning hard for Campbell. The question with Campbell in this race is always the money question. Can he come up with enough cash to really compete with Whitman and Poizner. He can’t self finance, and he’ll need to spend a hefty chunk of change to really make any headway with the right-wing base of the party.
However, if Campbell does manage to squeak out, he probably makes for a very tough campaign for the Democratic nominee, whether it be Jerry Brown or some other late announcing candidate. While his “solutions” tend to be pretty much the same as his former boss, Arnold Schwarzenegger, he is still able to talk the moderate talk.