Tom Campbell Makes It Official – and Carlyfornia Freaks Out

Tom Campbell made it official today – he’s leaving the governor’s race and jumping into the US Senate race, where he only has to face one self-funder instead of two. Campbell plans to run against government spending, showing his reputation as a “moderate” is undeserved. The LA Times even mentioned something I never knew, which is that Campbell’s PhD advisor was none other than Milton Friedman:

Calling the nation’s fiscal path “suicidal,” Campbell said his economic background makes him the ideal candidate to rein in federal spending and growth.

“Our country is at a very perilous point in economic terms, and in terms of the size and intrusiveness of government” he said. “I believe I can help to restore our nation’s economic health, and spirit of independence.”

Campbell has a doctorate in economics and his faculty advisor was the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. Campbell was also the last person to serve as California’s budget director who oversaw a balanced state budget.

I’ve heard rumors that Campbell has internal polling showing him with a lead over both Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore. As Calbuzz reported, the Field Poll is currently out in the field polling the 3-way race, so we should know soon just how this impacts the GOP primary race.

For her part, Carly Fiorina is fighting back, with just a hint of desperation. Her emails are calling Campbell a “flip flopper,” which is I guess what you say to deflect attention from your own flip-flopping on whether you’ll self-fund (Fiorina has given her campaign $2.5 million):

Today Tom Campbell kicked off yet another campaign for yet another office in his never ending quest to get elected again – but using his electoral history as a guide, his kick off tour is more likely to be a farewell tour. Tom’s unending quest for statewide office has nothing to do with serving the people of California, rather it’s about satisfying Tom Campbell’s quixotic personal ambition and the false premise that he will be acceptable to Republican primary voters.  California Republicans won’t vote for a proponent of higher taxes and more government; they’re smarter than Tom Campbell gives them credit for.

I’m guessing these attacks won’t play well. Campbell has a reputation as a nice guy, and Fiorina’s attacks fall flat given that perception.

In any case, trying to read the California GOP base is like deciphering hieroglyphics without a guide. It’s an unpredictable movement that could throw its weight behind a wealthy fool (Fiorina), a well-liked loser who at least has enough credentials on economics but some non-wingnut social views (Campbell) or the teabagger darling (DeVore).

No matter what, I’m hoping for an expensive and bruising primary battle that leaves the winner poorer and less able to mount an effective challenge to Barbara Boxer, who will win re-election on her own merits anyway.

9 thoughts on “Tom Campbell Makes It Official – and Carlyfornia Freaks Out”

  1. SFgate “Our polls show 31 percent for me, 15 for Fiorina, and 12 for (State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore” of Irvine, said Campbell, who called prior to his San Jose press conference to talk about his Senate bid. “I’m feeling awfully encouraged.”

    iCarly has to be a little worried. Nobody knows who Devore is at this point so he probably could care less.

  2. Interesting.  I think Campbell might have had a chance against Boxer back in 1992 if he’d beaten Bruce Herschensohn in the primary (which he probably would have done if Sonny Bono hadn’t taken almost 20% of the vote).

  3. I saw an arms control/foreign aid panel at Stanford in 2002 or so.  Campbell was there.  They feted him as one of the “10-smartest congressmen,” and he proceeded to be dumb as a post.  The one comment that really stuck with me: irrespectively of the present war, if the US just sent more doctors and nurses and aid packages to developing countries, people around the world would like us more.

  4. On some issues, there is not a lot of difference.  Only Boxer is smarter.  Both are Nuclear hawks.  Here is Boxer on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last year… note her mistake about nuclear cost effectiveness.

    There’s no question that nuclear is going to be part of the solution. The thing is, we have got to get an answer to disposing of the waste. That is a big question mark. But I went to France to see what they do and Joe, it’s amazing. Because they have no other way to get energy, you are right. They rely on this. They have put the whole power of the government behind the safety question. Here, we don’t do that. So i think if you had, if you make sure that it was safe and that we really worked harder to make it safe, it would have more acceptance. But let me say under any scenario we are going to see more nuclear power because it’s going to be more cost effective once there is a price on carbon and that’s why we need a global warming bill.

     So, according to Boxer here, we need a global warming bill to make nuclear competitive with coal.

    As an anti-nuclear activist, I think I just might look at Campbell again. He is a big ? for me on this issue.

  5. Glad to know the Rs have some crappy consultants too. Whatever happened to “we welcome Mr. Campbell to the race and look forward to a constructive discussion about the future of our state [subtle dig goes here]”?

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