Simon Unloads on Schwarzenegger

Orange Juice: Simon unloads on Schwarzenegger

By: Art Pedroza

The recall continues to dominate political news, so it should come as no surprise that I am once more leading this column with a couple of items about Schwarzenegger and the other Republican recall candidates. There are also a few updates below about some of the hot Assembly races in Orange County.

In this issue:

1. Simon unloads on Schwarzenegger

2. Orange County Republicans come out for Schwarzenegger

3. DeVore picks up more endorsements

4. Gibson faces one less opponent

5. Wilson endorses Tran for 68th Assembly District

6. Probolsky to speak to Rush Limbaugh Club

7. Burton interviewed in the O.C. Register

Simon unloads on Schwarzenegger

Well, that didn’t take long. I spoke to a senior Simon staffer last week, who was somewhat irked at me for daring to write that McClintock had more momentum than Simon, and he assured me that the Simon campaign had no intention of attacking other Republican candidates. The big recall story this week however has been the strong attacks by Simon in the wake of several disturbing announcements from Schwarzenegger’s camp.

The biggest gaffe had to be the comments by Schwarzenegger’s finance advisor, Warren Buffet, about our property taxes being too low. Oops. Not a great way to motivate the base. That was followed by the pronouncement by Schwarzenegger that he had no intention of firing all of the Davis appointees. That is perhaps an even scarier thought, as Schwarzenegger has already distanced himself from the Buffet statement. Many of us would love to see Sacramento cleared of the political hacks that were rewarded by Davis for either contributing money to him, or otherwise cowering to him. Few if any of the Davis appointees got their jobs due to merit, and their number includes dozens of annoying labor bosses who should be sent packing as soon as possible.

I think that despite the compressed campaign schedule, Schwarzenegger will correct these wrongs in the next few days. He seems to be running his campaign in the same fashion that one might produce a movie. He has “cast” a few big stars, including Buffet, George Schultz, and even the actor Rob Lowe, not to mention numerous Republican officeholders (more on that later in this column), and the next steps include both TV commercials, which should hit the air on Wednesday of this week, and official meetings of the Schwarzenegger finance team, as well as eventual debates with the other candidates. Many pundits have also noted that Schwarzenegger peppers his soundbites with name brands, including the Hummer vehicles that he favors. Nothing wrong with that – I think they call it product placement, in Hollywood speak.

Schwarzenegger’s missteps could pile up and hurt him. We have already seen his numbers dip such that the sole credible Democrat candidate, Cruz Bustamante, is now in the lead. McClintock and Simon are coming in at single digits, and the net result is that they might hand the governorship to Bustamante by undercutting Schwarzenegger. If that happens, some of the blame should also be assigned to Peter Ueberroth, a Republican running as an independent, who is polling at five percent.

Ueberroth, by the way, is being advised by Republican consultant Dan Schnur, who last year worked on the Riordan campaign. Is he assisting Ueberroth out of some sort of “sour grapes” mentality due to the harsh way that Schwarzenegger pushed aside Riordan? Columnist Robert Novak wrote last week that the decision to run by Schwarzenegger was predicated on the fact that he did not think that Riordan had the mental faculties needed to win a tough race. I have also heard that from numerous former Riordan campaign staffers.

Ueberroth is also is the sole candidate of any note to take the “statesman” position that I had earlier advocated for U.S. House Representative Darrell Issa, who instead pulled out of the recall ballot. Ueberroth had adopted at least two of the planks that I recommended, including running as a caretaker candidate, for the balance of the Davis term, and offering to serve as Governor without a salary. Ueberroth also claims that he will not “campaign, raise money or pander,” according to his website which is available at

Check out the other Republican campaigns for yourself online. Schwarzenegger’s site is at, while the Simon campaign site is at, and McClintock’s site is available at

Orange County Republicans come out for Schwarzenegger

Schwarzenegger has picked up two prominent Orange County Republican endorsements this week as Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona and State Assemblyman John Campbell jumped on board. Campbell immediately made news by telling a reporter that Art Laffer, a former Ronald Reagan advisor who famously opposed taxes, might be joining Schwarzenegger’s advisory committee. That would be a great move, and would serve to further nullify the Buffet statements about property taxes, but the Schwarzenegger campaign quickly advised the media that Campbell’s statements were premature. Perhaps that is true, but I don’t think that Campbell would have mentioned Laffer if something was not already in the works. I’m sure we will hear more about this later.

For Carona, the Schwarzenegger endorsement is a distinct improvement over some of his past endorsements, which include multiple endorsements of notorious labor-backed Democrats Nativo Lopez and John Palacio, for the Santa Ana Unified School District’s Board of Education. Lopez was subsequently recalled, while Palacio has lost his power base and will not likely be reelected to the Santa Ana school board. The Carona endorsements were offered to these vile Democrats despite the fact that they were both opposed by numerous qualified Latino Republican candidates. Maybe Carona has learned from his mistakes. I’ll be satisfied if he just refrains from endorsing anymore Democrats, even if the endorsements are offered in ostensibly non-partisan races.

The Campbell endorsement is notable as the state legislator is a fiscal conservative with an excellent reputation. I would expect that his endorsement will be followed by others in the next few days, including possibly that of Issa, especially since a number of other Republican congressmen have already endorsed Schwarzenegger, including U.S. House Representative David Dreier.

In related news, I finally heard from someone who is supporting Bill Simon! I have been waiting to hear from any of my Republican friends in that regard, and the first to jump on the Simon train is my good friend Celeste Grieg, a Republican activist of Spanish extraction who has been known for her work with the CRA (California Republican Assembly) a conservative Republican grassroots organization that has already endorsed McClintock. Grieg tells me that she supported Simon last year and is doing so again this time. I get over 150 emails a day, from the left, right and center, and Grieg’s recent email in support of Simon was the first one I received from someone other than Republican consultant and columnist Stephen Frank. I suspect that Simon may actually pick up some steam as he continues to peck away at Schwarzenegger, but he has a big mountain to climb.

DeVore picks up more endorsements

Speaking of Campbell, the race to fill his Assembly seat is heating up once more. Chuck DeVore, the leading conservative candidate for the 70th Assembly District, announced this week that State Senator Rico Oller has endorsed him, joining other conservatives including U.S. House Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby, and State Senator Pete Knight in supporting DeVore.

Gibson faces one less opponent

In another heated contest, conservative candidate Jim Gibson announced that another conservative, Oceanside’s Robert Thompson, has dropped out of the race for the 73rd Assembly District and has endorsed Gibson. Frankly, I had never heard of Thompson so it is hard to measure the value of his endorsement. In the meantime, Gibson is still trailing fellow Republican candidate Mimi Walters in fundraising. Walters has so far raised $147,474 to Gibson’s $15,798, which he has supplemented with $122,198 in loans. Walters also added another $100,000 in loans to her campaign. Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson, who is also running for the 73rd, has raised $123,223, plus $12,800 in loans.

Wilson endorses Tran for 68th Assembly District

Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson has endorsed Garden Grove City Councilmember Van Tran for the State Assembly seat currently held by Ken Maddox. Tran has also been endorsed by Orange County Supervisors Chuck Smith and Jim Silva. I am not impressed at all by anything that Smith does, but to be fair Tran also enjoys the support of conservative congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce.

Probolsky to speak to Rush Limbaugh Club

Republican consultant and pollster Adam Probolsky will be speaking to the Rush Limbaugh Club of South Orange County this Saturday, at the Laguna Hills Holiday Inn located at 25205 La Paz Road. The breakfast meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. and it only costs $15 to attend. You can RSVP by calling (949) 472-1735. Probolsky is a great guy and his comments should be interesting, particularly since he can parse the numbers and get past the spin, so to speak.

Burton interviewed in the O.C. Register

My good friend Jeff Burton, a political consultant with Glaab & Associates who is currently running Santa Ana Councilman Brett Franklin’s campaign for the First Supervisorial District in Orange County, was interviewed in Monday’s Orange County Register, for a regular column that examines various career paths. The article does not seem to be available online, but you can find it in Monday’s Register, in their Business Monday section, on page 9. My favorite Burton quote, in reply to a question about why Burton works as a political consultant: “This was one of the only things that I’m good at that I can get paid for doing.” You have to love that kind of honesty!

That’s it for this edition! Remember, you can read this column online at Be sure to check out the useful links available in that site.


Author’s Bio: Art Pedroza became involved in local politics in 1996, when he was tabbed to serve as the inaugural Hispanic Outreach Director for the Republican Party of Orange County. Pedroza has served as a city commissioner in Santa Ana, and on the Central Committee for both the local GOP and the California Republican Party. He currently represents the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, in Orange County.

About Art Pedroza