are not seeing the real Dick Riordan," Richard Riordan said
a couple of days ago. "I've been a staunch conservative."
kept this secret from everyone.
That must explain
Riordan's odd message in the Republican primary for governor. Riordan's
campaign preached inclusiveness, except for Republicans. His political
operation tried to build a coalition without a base.
On just about
every issue, he moved further away from the Republican base: gays,
guns, quotas, taxes, immigration, crime, and more. What about Riordan's
in-your-face preaching to Republicans? Are they anti-women and anti-minority?
pro-choice? He seemed pro-abortion. At times he talked of nothing
Republicans did not respect differences. But Riordan's own campaign
At last month's
Republican state convention, former Republican Gov. George Deukmejian
reiterated his opposition to Riordan, even against Democrat Gov.
Gray Davis. A reporter-panelist asked Riordan at the ensuing candidate
debate: What did Riordan think about Deukmejian not supporting him?
This was an obvious question to everyone, except, evidently, Riordan
strategists. Don't they brief their candidate?
of icon Deukmejian marked a turning point.
political operation simply lacked Republican outreach. Riordan needed
to say to Republicans, "Hello, how are you? I want your support.
Would you provide advice if I'm elected governor?"
as a Republican were regularly debated. But Riordan chief strategist
Don Sipple and Riordan's campaign ads avoided the "R"
word. Sipple had wide latitude in running the campaign and oddly
didn't highlight any of the candidate's Republican accomplishments.
Riordan had helped lead campaigns against liberal Supreme Court
Justice Rose Bird, for term limits in Los Angeles, and against bilingual
education. Why were these just footnotes in Riordan's campaign?
What was the
campaign's raw meat for Republicans? Riordan ads talked about zero-based
So, do you
blame Riordan's top people, who now bad-mouth each other and the
candidate? Or do you blame the candidate, who personally recruited
the top people?
At the campaign's opening last year, staunch Riordan supporter Arnold
Schwarzneggar introduced Riordan. Yesterday, the actor again warmed-up
the crowd. He wants Riordan to serve one term as governor, then
pump for the Terminator in 2006. (In the interim, Schwarzneggar
is increasing his political visibility. He has already spent $1
million to put an after-school programs measure on the November
good news for Riordan? His most recent ads finally are more focused.
What's the bad news? The election is today.
looks and acts like a winner, Riordan looks and sounds increasingly
desperate. Yesterday, Riordan compared Davis to Mussolini. He said
Davis is gloating about hijacking the Republican primary, in the
same way that Mussolini bragged about killing his enemies.
Davis had started
the attack ads against Riordan in January. That's when Riordan needed
to rally Republican leaders against Davis. Not now, not with Mussolini.
yesterday that Riordan messed up his own primary. Davis put it this
way: Riordan admitted he made a mistake by starting the general
election too soon. Republican voters were asking, "What about
The Davis attack
ads had skillfully used Republican themes and issues. The most recent
ad buried its Davis sponsorship. It even highlighted words from
Republican Deukmejian, who charged Riordan is unprincipled.
Davis originally had only wanted to weaken Riordan for November.
But Riordan had alienated Republicans. So Davis ended up defeating
Riordan in his own primary.
to Riordan's once-40 point primary lead? It was based mainly on
name ID. A fact not readily apparent to Riordan's consultants. How
much did Riordan's camp spend on focus groups and polls? Nearly
a half million dollars. Still, Riordan's strategists not only ignored
the Republican primary. They were the last to know they were in
It may be the
only $10 million campaign in history without opposition research.
Until the last ten days, Riordan gave Simon a free ride. Who uncovered
Simon's Republican negatives? Newspapers discovered Simon had not
registered to vote in New Jersey, was a registered independent in
New York, and had failed to vote in many California elections. Newspapers
discovered a Simon-affiliated company contributed $90,000 to a Willie
Brown committee. (Former liberal California State Assembly Speaker
Willie Brown is mayor of San Francisco.)
always heavily favored to win today's Republican primary against
the two Republican Bills. But Secretary of State Bill Jones, who
lacked money, is not a factor today. Businessman Bill Simon, who
lacked the will, was not supposed to be a factor.
But when Davis
attack ads raised doubts about Riordan, the Riordan campaign failed
to adapt. Finally, Simon wrote a big check to increase his ad buy.
airs Rudy endorsement ads. Why would former NYC Mayor Rudy intervene
against former LA Mayor Riordan? Did then-U.S. Senate candidate
Guiliani ask Riordan for help? Did Riordan decline, saying he was
too close to the Clintons?
most likely defeat Riordan handily today.