Lt Gov. Cruz Bustamante is “highly likely” to drop out of the race to replace Gov. Gray Davis tomorrow barring a last minute change of mind, according to a Sacramento source close to the lieutenant governor’s campaign.
As panic over a looming Republican capture of the governor’s office has spread from the Davis camp through the ranks of Democrat elected officials and donors, Bustamante has been subjected to enormous pressure to withdraw his candidacy. Top level Democrats believe Bustamante now has no hope of overtaking Arnold Schwarzenegger on the candidate portion of the ballot, and that he is, in fact, sinking so fast he could finish third, behind both Schwarzenegger and state Sen. Tom McClintock.
Many Democrats now believe their only chance of retaining the governor’s office is to defeat the recall. They hope Bustamante’s withdrawal will convince enough of the 27 to 30 percent of registered Democrats now supporting the recall to change their minds once they see no chance of replacing an ousted Davis with another Democrat.
CPR Online’s Sacramento source said convincing those Democrats to switch would be “difficult but at least conceivably doable,” in contrast to winning with Bustamante, whose campaign the source described as “absolutely dead in the water and sinking faster then the Titantic.”
The lieutenant governor is said to remain concerned about how withdrawing would affect his future: whether he is damaged more by staying in the race and losing badly next Tuesday, or by withdrawing five days before the election, thereby conceding he is too weak to win.
CPR Online’s source said Bustamante is notoriously slow to make up his mind about tough decisions. He characterized a Bustamante withdrawal as a “nine out of ten” chance, but said the lieutenant governor could change his mind “as he walks to the podium tomorrow.”
I can't see it either. The best Democratic strategy is still to cover both bases; defend Davis and use Bustamante as a backup. The withdrawl strategy might have been good if 2004 was the next governor's race.
That would be a disaster for the Democrats.... Most of Bustamonte's supporters are supposedly voting no on the recall anyway. Except the Mecha people- who are Yes on recal, vote Bustamonte. They NEED a strong Democrat in there to keep out McClintock.
I am voting for Arnold, because as much as I like McClintock, Arnold has a better shot of winning. And if Cruz wins, it is going to be a nightmare for this state. Conversely, for Cruz supporters, Tom McClintock winning would be the worse thing ever- better for those Democrats to have Arnold, a guy who agrees with many of their social stances, than a guy like Tom who is Conservative through and through.
If Cruz drops out, the hard core right wingers who are voting for Arnold for the same reason I am might jump back to McClintock, and he could spoil the thing.
I get the feeling that Davis is behind this somehow, and if he IS, it is just another example of how bad a political tactician this guy is...