Calif. Treasurer to Face Schwarzenegger, Bustamante Knocks Out Kraft

June 7, 2006

California State Treasurer Phil Angelides defeated Controller Steve Westly in a bitter primary battle, and the Democrats turned their attention to defeating a wounded but rebounding Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the fall.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting from Tuesday’s primary election, Angelides had 979,410 votes, or 48 percent, to Westly’s 888,512 votes, or 44 percent.

“You’ve given me a chance to fight for you, for the California of our dreams, and I will not let you down,” Angelides told cheering supporters after midnight at a Sacramento hotel.

Westly called Angelides at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday to concede and offered to help with Angelides’ fall campaign. Westly made no immediate public statement but planned to attend a Democratic unity event with Angelides later Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.

Previewing what is likely to be a prominent theme in his campaign, Angelides asserted that Schwarzenegger was in league with President Bush, who remains deeply unpopular in California.

“This contest will offer Californians the clearest choice they’ve had in a generation,” Angelides said.

Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, launched a statewide bus tour that begins Wednesday.

Schwarzenegger faced no credible opposition in Tuesday’s primary, easily winning his party’s nomination. He enters the race a provisional front-runner — an incumbent in a state that tends to retain incumbents.

“People want to hear about what each candidate wants to do with the future of California — what we want to do with education or with health care,” he said Tuesday. “Those are the important issues.”

A Field Poll released Tuesday showed as few as one in three registered voters was expected to cast ballots, which would be the lowest turnout since the organization began making predictions in 1946.

“I think that today was a somewhat sad day for me, because we’re all supposed to go out and vote,” Schwarzenegger said. “And I heard that it’s the lowest voter turnout probably in the history of California. I think it just shows that negative campaigning doesn’t work.”

In other California races, Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi won the Democratic nomination to run for lieutenant governor. He received 43.5 percent of the vote, while the next closest competitor, state Sen. Jackie Speier, received 38.5 percent of the votes.

Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante received 70.4 percent of the vote to win the Democratic contest for insurance commissioner over John Kraft. He will run against Republican Steve Poizner in November.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown scored a resounding victory in his latest attempt to reinvent himself politically, winning the Democratic slot in November’s race for state attorney general.

With 94 percent of precincts reporting, the former California governor had 1,200,353 votes, or 63 percent, to 716,040 votes, or 37 percent, for Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Brown will face Republican state Sen. Chuck Poochigian.

Brown, 68, a three-time presidential candidate who was governor from 1975 to 1983, was dubbed “Gov. Moonbeam” for his quirky politics the last time he held statewide office. But he has portrayed himself as a “fighter for justice” and someone who’s learned from decades of public service.

Former Rep. Ron Dellums was leading in the race to succeed Brown as Oakland’s next mayor in early election returns, but problems with voting equipment meant determining the winner could take well into Wednesday.

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