Republican, Governor of California
Californiaâ€™s economy is in turmoil. With a $15 billion deficit and an unemployment rate significantly higher than the national average, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman may be just who the state needs at the helm to turn things around.
Whitmanâ€™s business portfolio includes work for some powerhouse brands including Procter & Gamble, Disney and Hasbro. But she is best known for her tenure at eBay, during which time she grew the company from 30 to 15,000 employees. Now thatâ€™s job growth.
To call her business savvy seems an understatement. Whitmanâ€™s goal is to channel her knowledge and experience from the private sector into the government sector to create jobs in California and grow the stateâ€™s economy. She has also listed K-12 education as a state priority.
Whitman spoke recently with CNNâ€™s Wolf Blitzer about the stateâ€™s economy and the role of government spending in the rapid growth of Californiaâ€™s deficit. Although few would think Whitman the type of leader to make rash decisions of such magnitude, Blitzerâ€™s first question to Whitman, nonetheless, was, â€œYou sure you want to be governor of California?â€
Through the entirety of the six-minute interview, Whitman effectively articulates the primary sources of the stateâ€™s fiscal crisis and how she would address these problem areas. But in the end, the point Blitzer chose to focus on is her assessment that at least 10 percent of state government jobs â€“ the bureaucracy â€“ should be cut.
Whitman may have a difficult time dealing â€“ when she must â€“ with the left-wing Congressional representatives of California (i.e. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Henry Waxman) who have proven their inclination toward extreme partisanship. But the 2010 elections may remedy that issue to some degree.
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Republican, U.S. Senator for Texas
Michael Williams, currently serving on the stateâ€™s Railroad Commission, faces a unique situation in Texas. First of all â€“ it is worthy of mention that he is a staunch conservative, African American competing to be the next U.S. senator from Texas. Not the typical profile for this post, and many top Republicans couldnâ€™t be happier. Williams has secured an important party endorsement from Newt Gingrich and from the popular conservative blog RedState.com.
Williams will not be short of competition for the seat to be vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison when she resigns her post to go into fulltime campaign mode for Governor of Texas. The initial battle between the dozen or so â€œcandidatesâ€ is for an appointment by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to fill the Senate vacancy until a special election can be held â€“ likely no later than May 2010. Such an appointment would certainly give Williams an edge in the special election, as he would have the opportunity to gain the name recognition he currently lacks among Texas voters. It would also make him only the seventh African American to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Not surprisingly, the cable news outlets have had little to say about Williams. CNN and MSNBC have paid little mind to the candidate, who has a low-key but solid reputation in his home state. The liberal-leaning networks seem to operate by the credo, â€œIf you have nothing negative to say about a Republican, then donâ€™t say anything at all.â€
With no shortage of priority issues, Williams hopes that as a representative of Texas in the U.S. Senate he will be in a position to infuse conservative values on legislative initiatives surrounding energy security, immigration, protecting the environment â€“ which he deems a â€œmoral obligationâ€ â€“ and federal taxes, among other issues.
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Democrat, Governor of Virginia
Creigh Deeds currently serves in the Virginia State Senate, but until recently, most Americans â€“ even most Virginians â€“ had never heard of him. That was, until the Democratic National Committee starting pumping millions of dollars into his campaign.
His campaign website lists no less than 10 priorities Deeds wants to tackle if elected Governor of Virginia. Some may see that as ambitious, but I would suggest it is more likely a sign of an unfocused and unrealistic campaign and candidate.
From cracking down on payday lenders to establishing energy independence, Deedsâ€™ campaign seems desperate to cover any and every issue â€“ and even a few non-issues â€“ hoping that at least one of these topics will matter greatly to a majority of voters.
In the end, Deedsâ€™ qualifications and campaign platform may prove to be of little consequence if liberals are able to sufficiently smear his Republican rival, Bob McDonnell. As was the case in the 2008 presidential election, Virginiaâ€™s voters may make their decision based not on who they believe is the best candidate, but instead, on who they donâ€™t want in office.
MSNBCâ€™s Chris Matthews is doing his part for the liberal smear campaign. In a recent airing of Hardball, Matthews spewed his bumbling insight on the all-important matter of McDonnellâ€™s masterâ€™s thesis â€“ even taking a lame, partisan shot at McDonnellâ€™s choice of law schools.
Check out my previous installment of Candidates Corner, where I discuss Carly Fiorina, Curt Schilling and Eliot Spitzer, at http://newsrealblog.com/2009/09/07/candidates-corner1/.