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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

CA: Northern Exposure

Of California's six major candidates for governor and senator, five have their base in Northern California: Jerry Brown (former mayor of Oakland), Barbara Boxer (who owns a home in RanchoMirage but made her career in Marin County), Tom Campbell (former House member from the Silicon Valley), as well as high-tech businesspeople Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and Steve Poizner. Only Chuck DeVore has firm roots in the Southland.

That situation is an anomaly, since Southern California has much more of the state's wealth and population. So what's happening? Mike Zapler of the San Jose Mercury News reports:

Experts in the state's political geography chalk up the slate of northern candidates this year to several factors: the engine of wealth that Silicon Valley has become, producing a rash of ambitious, well-heeled executives who can finance their own campaigns; the growing Democratic voter registration in the Los Angeles area, narrowing the terrain for Republicans to blossom into viable statewide candidates; and pure happenstance.

"With the exception of Schwarzenegger, who's anomalous in a lot of ways, there hasn't been a pool of Republicans from Southern California who are next in line to run statewide," said Ken Miller, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College. "Instead, their base has increasingly become the Inland Empire and Central Valley, but there's not a lot of (campaign) money in those areas. So you've got this weird situation where Republican candidates are coming from the Bay Area, and they're much more socially moderate than the median voter in a Republican primary."