Schwarzenegger for a Democrat and Other Hypothetical Endorsements

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's has had a tense relationship with his fellow Republicans for years. In recent months, he's more or less been ...
by | May 8, 2009

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's has had a tense relationship with his fellow Republicans for years. In recent months, he's more or less been disowned for coming out in favor of tax increases. So this news from the New York Times isn't a huge surprise:

Politically, it has become a do-or-die moment for the Republican governor, whose own party has largely abandoned him, to the point that Mr. Schwarzenegger says he is considering endorsing a Democrat in the 2010 race to succeed him.

As the Times article makes clear, Schwarzenegger is unpopular enough that other candidates might not even want his endorsement. But, the possibility of Schwarzenegger backing a Democrat got me thinking about some other blockbuster endorsement questions for the 2010 cycle.

For example, will George W. Bush take a side in the Republican primary for governor of Texas? That seems unlikely, but it sure would shake things up. Rick Perry was Bush's (independently elected) lieutenant governor, although I have a sneaking suspicion he might prefer Kay Bailey Hutchison. The real shocker would be if he endorsed his long-time friend Tom Schieffer, who's running as a Democrat.

More consequentially, will Jeb Bush back Marco Rubio's campaign for U.S. Senate? Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel explains the potential significance of that move:

Rubio is a huge underdog, but I wouldn't quite write him off as a dead dog. His fate depends in large part on whether his mentor, Jeb Bush, intervenes in the race on his behalf. That would make this the political story of the year with a former Republican governor turning against a sitting Republican governor. And Bush never has injected himself in Republican primaries.

But it's not impossible. Bush has no love for Crist, and has preached against the evils of Republicans turning to a 'Democrat Lite'' strategy to get elected. Crist is the poster child for Democratic Lite. In fact, I'm hard pressed to find much positive Bush has said about Crist since Crist was elected.

As a matter pure political theater, I was hoping that Crist and Bush would both run for president and square off in a make-or-break Florida Republican primary, but this might be the next best thing.

Finally, would Rod Blagojevich consider providing a kiss-of-death endorsement to someone running for governor of Illinois? What if he endorsed Attorney General Lisa Madigan, just to try to bring down her campaign? That would be such a superficial ploy that no one would buy it. I wonder if Roland Burris would accept a Blagojevich endorsement at this point.

By the way, I found this paragraph from the Times article linked above to be pretty funny:

Perhaps the ultimate indignity: Mr. Schwarzenegger has the sympathy of Gray Davis, the Democrat he ousted as governor in the recall election of 2003, when the state was mired in another budget morass and Mr. Davis was blamed for it. "I told him during the transition, you need two things to be successful," Mr. Davis said. "You need rain in the north and a strong economy. And there is nothing you can do about either one."

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer

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