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Proof that nobody else in the journalism (or quasi-journalism) community but me seems to be checking out the daily reports from the OC Registrar of Voters may be found in the fact that, almost a full day after this was on the Intertubes, we seem to have a scoop: it looks like Orly Taitz really is running for Attorney General against Kamala Harris.
Seriously. Take a look.
This is the wrong decision for Orly Taitz (although it’s not a bad one) — and it’s a very wrong decision for California’s Republican Party, because while she can’t likely beat Harris (I’d forecast a 70%-30% margin for Harris at first blush) she CAN probably beat anyone else the Republicans put up in order to get into the runoff. (Seriously — if someone else of note was going to run, wouldn’t they be running already?)
The GOP will likely get indigestion from this — and an extra dose from the synergy between Taitz and Tim Donnelly’s gubernatorial campaign. Taitz’s presence in the primary will further bring out the sorts of voters who would likely vote for Donnelly, making the prospect of a … let’s call it “non-mainstream” … ticket all the more likely. You won’t see many Dems crying over that. (But some Dems may cry a bit over the nres in the next paragraph.)
Taitz is going to strike many of the right chords in the libertarian gullies of OC. A personal friend of sometime OJB writer Debbie Tharp, she’s pro-marijuana (medical, at a minimum, and perhaps legalization as well), which will put Harris into an odd position. This is a year when marijuana legalization efforts are becoming more thinkable (although it’s not clear that legalization advocates in CA have the chops to pull it off.) She’ll face the choice of either standing with her good friend Barack Obama — who will surely be Taitz’s rhetorical target no matter who else is on the ballot — and his surprisingly intolerant policies or else letting Taitz pull her further to the left (or whatever direction legalization is) than she’d like to go.
I’m an admirer of Harris (who is on my short list of “I would like to see that person become Governor someday” along with names like Debra Bowen, John Garamendi, and Dave Jones), so I do wish that this were happening to a more deserving target, but I hate to see her have to move to the right in response to Taitz to maintain her “political viability.”
What should Taitz be running for instead? That’s easy: AD-73.
Wendy Gabriella, the sole Democrat in the race, will probably do well enough to make the runoff in a field where four credible and fairly evenly matched Republicans — Bill Brough, Anna Bryson, Jesse Petrilla, and Paul Glaab — are going to beat the tar out of each other all year long. (And once they file for this race, they cannot unfile. Thanks, Abel Maldonado!) Let’s say that Gabriella — an appealing and tireless campaigner who will likely have reasonably decent funding as the race shakes out — has a floor of 25% of the primary vote (and I think her floor is more like 30-33%) even in South County, thanks to the (D) after her name and her work ethic. So that leaves 75% to divide up four ways — meaning that the bottom two of that quartet have to be held to about 14% to have a prayer of keeping Gabriella out of the finale. But, add Orly to the mix, and two things happen: (1) Gabriella starts raising money from frightened (or gleeful) Democrats she was Google stock (2) Orly cuts the legs out from under Petrilla and probably goes up to about a 25% floor of her own. Scott Baugh could try to chase all but one candidate out of the race over the next couple of weeks, but it would not be easy — and it would be even harder to do so once he decided to anoint someone to hold off Orly. In fact, that might even backfire!
Who would win a Gabriella vs. Taitz runoff? Either result would be spectacularly unexpected — and I honestly don’t know how to call it. Gabriella’s a thoughtful moderate Dem who could attract a lot of Republicans and independents — and Orly would be like a liquid fire, amassing a huge warchest. I could imagine Republicans deciding that it would be better to suffer through two years of Gabriella than to raise Taitz to prominence as a national spokesperson — but, would they really be willing to do that when the Democratic supermajority might hinge on the result. So, they’d go with Taitz. But can they really count on Taitz?
I’ll tell you who would definitely win — political bloggers! But if she really wants to run for AG, well, we’ll make the most out of that too, even if it means that the Republicans have to dig up someone like former AG Dan Lungren to be their sacrificial lamb against Harris – IF he can beat her!
(Note: I don’t want to give Taitz the idea of running for SD-36 — for fear that too many Democrats would vote for her over Pat Bates as, essentially, a prank. So, no, I don’t want to even mention that.)