Schwarzenegger Not Ruling Out Run at U.S. Senate Seat

Monday, 23 Mar 2009 10:26 AM

By Dave Eberhart

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't saying no to taking on Sen. Barbara Boxer for her U.S. Senate seat, according to a report in SFGate.com.

Asked by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter at a recent Commonwealth Club of California appearance whether he ruled out a U.S. Senate run, the former action star said, “I have my hands full with all the stuff I’m doing now,” he said, referring to his ongoing budget crisis. “I’m concentrating on that and not what I’m going to do next. You know, I’m not a politician. I’m a public servant.”

With a cadre of Republicans and Democrats already primping to replace Schwarzenegger in the governor’s office, political observers say the Governator may just be protesting too little at the notion of a run for the Senate. And then there’s the fact that the Austrian-born action star is ineligible to make an assault on the White House

One of those political observers, Democratic strategist Garry South, has already gone on record predicting that California’s looming 2010 Senate race would be a contest between “a muscleman and a boxer.”

The “boxer,” of course, is Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Said South: “Schwarzenegger is someone who likes public office, and is probably not looking at himself as someone who will just be a retired governor.”

Furthermore, said South, “There’s going to be a lot of national pressure from Republicans on Schwarzenegger to run against Boxer.

“He has 100 percent name ID, he can raise a substantial amount of money - even at the federal limit - and it gives the Republicans at least a fighting chance of capturing a Senate seat in California, which they haven’t had since 1992.”

South further explained that by putting Boxer under assault, “the party would have to divert a lot of national money into California, which is an expensive state. And every dollar it spends in California is a dollar that cannot be spent in other places up for grabs, like Ohio.”

Will it all come to pass?

Conservative Republican activist Mike Spence said, “It’s not a likely match-up.”

The state GOP grass roots have been fired up at the governor’s recent budget, which included a tax increase of $12 billion. They’re hardly ready to get behind a Schwarzenegger Senate run, not with real conservatives like Irvine Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina exploring the race, Spence concluded.

But GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, Schwarzenegger’s press spokesman during the California recall, is not so sure. “The great thing about Arnold is he doesn’t rule anything out - even in his own mind - until it’s game time.”

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