Man Without Qualities

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Davis Descending VIII: Almost There

The Orange County Register reports:

Backers of the campaign to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis from office say they have collected nearly 900,000 signatures - the minimum needed to qualify for the ballot - and plan a victory celebration on July 4 in Orange County. Campaign workers will continue to collect signatures through the July 4th weekend, and will submit the documents to election officials as early as July 7, said David Gilliard, a consultant to the campaign, which is called Rescue California. "The bottom line is we're just about there."

Since the deadline for collecting the 900,000 signatures is September, it looks like Governor Davis is going to have to deal with a recall - either in November or March, but, with increasing likelihood, November.

Whether the recall vote is held in either March or November, there is a state initiative already on the ballot that will be placed before California voters at the same time as the Davis recall, an initiative which may bring out a lot of Davis opponents. The initiative is backed by Ward Connerly and would bar California governments from collecting racial and ethnic data to track students, vendors or workers in education, contracting or employment. Right now, the Connerly initiative is on the March ballot.

The California Secretary of State is thought to be trying to do the Governor a favor by delaying the Davis recall vote to March. But if the recall vote is set for March, it will coincide with the vote on Mr. Connerly's initiative. But it is also still possible that the Connerly initiative may find its way to the November ballot along with the question of Mr. Davis' recall, as the Register reports:

[The initiative] qualified last July, but not in time to appear on the November 2002 ballot. State law requires [the Connerly initiative] to appear before voters at the next statewide election. But if the [Davis] recall initiative qualifies soon enough, the next statewide election will be held this fall, not in March. Experts differ here, but this could be bad news for Davis.

That's because Connerly's initiative is favored 3-2 by all voters, according to the April Field Poll. Those voters are highly motivated to cast ballots, and political strategists believe most of them are not ardent supporters of the governor - to put it mildly. Even Davis' own Democrats only narrowly oppose the initiative. That means the recall election will excite the Republican base and attract not only those voters anxious to dump Davis, but those supporting Connerly's initiative - a double whammy for the governor when he is most vulnerable. Connerly himself has not taken a position on Davis' recall.

So, either way, the Connerly initiative will probably appear on the same ballot as the question of Davis' recall - in either March or November.

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