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Governor backs Campbell

August 04, 2005|By: Alicia Robinson

State Sen. John Campbell put some muscle behind his campaign for the

48th Congressional District seat Wednesday when he came out with an

endorsement from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The seat is being vacated by Rep. Chris Cox, who last week was

confirmed as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The endorsement -- unusual in a Republican primary -- is expected

to play well in Newport Beach, but it left Campbell opponent Marilyn

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Brewer's supporters "perplexed," as a Brewer campaign consultant put

it.

Since the governor took office, Campbell has often been at his

side. Schwarzenegger endorsed Campbell in a 2004 face-off with fellow

Republican Ken Maddox for the Senate seat Campbell now holds.

The endorsement is "a big deal on two dimensions," UC Irvine

political scientist Louis De Sipio said.

First, governors usually stay out of party primaries. Second, the

endorsement points to Campbell as the candidate for big GOP donors to

watch, De Sipio said.

"It sort of is a cue to the money people as to where they're going

to make their investments," De Sipio said.

But Campbell is banking more on the endorsement's political

cachet.

"This will be more effective with voters than it will with

fundraising because the governor doesn't work in Washington -- he

works in Sacramento," Campbell said. "It just gives further assurance

to voters as to my abilities and prospects if they're not familiar

with what I've done in the last five years."

Marilyn Brewer is certainly familiar with Campbell's legislative

record. That's why her campaign consultant, Harvey Englander, said

the governor's endorsement confused him.

"We were disappointed that the governor didn't even bother to sit

down with Marilyn, and we were somewhat confused because Marilyn's

positions on issues are exactly the same as the governor's,"

Englander said.

He was noting Brewer's support of abortion rights and stem cell

research and opposition to illegal immigration, tax increases and

government spending boosts.

The bottom line in Newport Beach, however, may be election turnout

-- which is typically low in special elections.

Schwarzenegger's endorsement will matter to the older, more

conservative Newport voters, who are most likely to vote in this

race, but it may not matter to anyone else, Newport Beach City

Councilman Tod Ridgeway said.

"Obviously we are heavily Republican in this city. That

endorsement will make some difference," he said.

"Will the apathy of voting in a special election be overcome by

that? I don't think so."

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