If the Republican party wants a chance at winning a statewide office in California to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, the only realistic choice is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Politico is reporting.
The only problem is that she has so far refused to run.
A Field Poll released Feb. 18
found that 49 percent of likely voters in the Golden State said they would vote for Rice if she runs for Boxer's U.S. Senate seat in 2018, with 31 percent of Democrats saying they would be "inclined" to vote for the former secretary of state. She even received more support than any of the Democratic candidates in the deep blue state.
However, Rob Stutzman, a veteran political consultant in California, described Rice as "the fantasy candidate. She was our fantasy candidate for governor last year as well.
"The cliche that demographics are destiny has defined us here in California," Stutzman added.
According to Politico, part of the draw to Rice is that as a moderate African American, she does have that demographic appeal — she would appeal to fiscal conservatives in the Republican party as well as the growing minority groups in the state.
There are currently no Republicans holding any statewide offices in California, which once gave the country former Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considered an anomaly because of his celebrity status.
Georgia Godfrey, Rice's chief of staff at Stanford University, where she's working as a political science professor, has said that the former secretary of state isn't even considering running, and a leading Republican in California says that she has "zero interest" in running.
Although some argue that Rice may not be the shoe-in that some think she is.
"There have been many cases of people over the years who seemed like dream candidates but once they actually have to run for office, they don’t have that particular skill set," said Jack Pitney, professor at Claremont McKenna College. "Wesley Clark had a dynamite résumé, but when he actually ran for president, he stumbled all over himself."
Political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of the University of Southern California agrees that while Rice is "the only possible person" who could win in the Golden State, "I'm here to tell you that’s not a slam-dunk, either, and one of the reasons she probably continues to say no is because she knows she’d be beaten up for her work for George W. Bush."
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