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Republicans may surprise Democrats in 2010 elections

by Susannah Kopecky, published

California, a Republican bastion?!  Don’t act so shocked, it’s happened before.

Remember a certain two-term, incredibly popular Republican President of the United States, whose name is still so powerful that anyone who wants to move up in Republican Party ranks, must align themselves with his vision? He was the former chief executive of the state of California! Ronald Reagan, the 33rd governor of the normally very blue California, served  from 1966 to 1974. California flourished under the man who would go on to inspire a “Reagan Revolution,” an era of support for tax cuts, and the idea that rather than self-flagellate, Americans should go forth and liberate.

With the shocking win of Senator-Elect Scott Brown in Massachusetts, all eyes are turning westward. If a Republican can win the Senate seat once dominated for decades by self-ordained liberal "lion of the Senate" Ted Kennedy, why can’t a laid back Republican do the same in the Golden State? Experts are starting to predict that the state may quietly turn a shade of purple (if not downright red) come November 2010. According to a recent article in the LA Times, about 20% of registered voters in California have stated their preference... not to state a preference: “They're officially registered as ‘Decline to State’ -- as in ‘a pox on both your parties.’” This is welcome news for a state whose residents have typically prided themselves on bucking trends and thinking in new ways. The state of Disneyland and Silicon Valley may once again rise to their full potential, if Independent voters are impassioned enough to vote for change, and diehard Democrats stay home.

Predictions of a possibly more conservative California shouldn’t come as an entire surprise, however. Former presidential campaign aides and friends to John McCain, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman have launched a vigorous opposition to some of the state's most liberal leaders. Whitman is running a charged campaign to become the next governor, while cancer survivor Fiorina has challenged liberal Senator Barbara Boxer. Boxer, like Kennedy, has been a liberal mainstay in California, and yet she is struggling to reach 50% in early polls.

If California Republicans sweep the elections, will it be a good thing? Only time will tell.  Maybe a little red-colored shake-up is just what this state needs to jog it back into place.

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