Stuzman on Whitman's Loss

John Seiler:

I’ve known Rob Stutzman about 15 years, since he was press secretary to Attorney General Dan Lungren back in the 1990s. He’s one of the most knowledgeable people about California politics. He was with Arnold in the early days, before Arnold shifted Left and Stutzman went elsewhere, along with almost all Republicans and conservatives. Recently, Stutzman was a consultant with significant focus on communications for Meg’s campaign.

The reasons Meg lost probably will be debated until we’re all billionaires. But Stutzman gave his reasons in an interview with George Skelton. Skelton’s article was entitled, “Whitman paid a high price for Latino distrust of GOP.”

In one of my articles, my somewhat tongue-in-cheek year-end review, I riffed on that:

Whitman spokesman Rob Stutzman blamed Whitman’s defeat on Latinos distrusting the GOP. But the Latino vote is from 17 percent to 22 percent of the electorate. It does vote from 70 percent to 80 percent Democratic. Yet that margin still wasn’t large enough by itself to cause a 12-point wipeout. And the whole Nannygate Nicky Diaz melodrama was a turn-off not only to Latinos, but to Anglos who didn’t exactly identify with someone who could afford a nanny at $25 an hour.

“Bunk,” replied Debra Saunders, one of my favorite columnists, reasoning the cause of the debacle was that “the overpaid political class coronated her because of her money, even though they had no reason to believe that she would be a good candidate or a great governor.”

Stutzman recently wrote me:

Hi John, just wondering what your citation is when you report that I blamed the Whitman loss on the Latino vote?  I’ve never said any such thing.  I’ve cited it as one of many factors and have voiced concern about the GOP’s path of not being able to reach Latino voters, but I’ve never blamed the defeat on that sole factor.  So what gives?

I checked out the Skelton article. Although it does largely stress the Latino vote, as the article’s title implies, Skelton did write at the end of other reasons, which I should have noted. The first reference is to Meg’s Nannygate scandal breaking right at the end of the campaign. Skelton:

“We still wouldn’t have won,” Stutzman says. “But it would have been closer.

“The [Democratic] math was insurmountable. California Democrats rallied around the president. We had difficulty keeping the campaign focused on jobs and the economy. Brown and his union allies kept [attacking Whitman’s] character….

 

“Brown was more disciplined than I thought. I tip my hat to those guys.”

Jan. 9, 2011


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