San Diego, CALIF.- Dan Walters is a columnist for CALmatters, and has been writing about California politics for more than 50 years.
This upcoming election will chart the next course for California in many ways. From governor, to U.S. Senate and the first ever NPP candidate for Insurance Commissioner in Steve Poizner, Walters is a great source for information on what will likely happen come November 6th.
I asked Walters if he felt the lack of debates hurt one candidate or the other, and shouldn't voters have more opportunities to hear from the candidates than one radio debate?
"Well voters probably should, but when you have a lopsided race like the Governors race, it doesn't behoove the front runner to debate the opposition. And the fact that debates are now glorified press conferences instead of real debates. Reporters ask questions and candidates respond with poll tested talking points, and then move onto the next topic. The last debate that had any kind of impact was in 1982, a senatorial debate between Pete Wilson and Jerry Brown. Brown asked Wilson an obscure question and Wilson knocked it out of the park and flipped the election on its head. That's the last debate I can remember that had any impact at all."
U.S. Senate Race
The Diane Feinstein/ Kevin De Leon race could be tightening according to Walters. The Kavanaugh debacle could hurt Feinstein with Republican voters in California, giving De Leon a slim opportunity to catch the long time Senator.
"It's theoretically possible, the last PPIC polling showed the race had narrowed considerably. This is a race with two democrats so it has the inherent ability to be a closer race. The Kavanaugh hearing where Feinstein played a prominent role, saw her performed a rare feat of alienating the progressive wing of the democratic party while at the same time alienated Republicans, who don't have a candidate in the race."
For the first time an NPP candidate could win a statewide office in California. I asked Walters about the significance of the race.
"The common belief in Sacramento is that Steve has a pretty good chance to win the race, he has to overcome the fact that he isn't a democrat. Ricardo Lara is not a great candidate. He has no track record on insurance issues, he is a super liberal, one note charlie as a state legislator on undocumented immigrants. That's been his cause and that's really it. Poizner has a strong position."