Tags: Riordan | Slips | California | Governor's | Race

Riordan Slips in California Governor's Race

Monday, 11 February 2002 12:00 AM

Results of a

Riordan's problems don't end there. Former Republican Gov. George Deukmejian said he wouldn't vote for Riordan even if the former mayor won the March 5 primary.

"He's a person I have no respect for," said Deukmejian. "And there's no way I could vote for him to be head of our Republican ticket. To me, it wouldn't make any difference if he was governor or Gray Davis was governor."

Davis, the Democrat incumbent, is suffering in the polls, especially for the way he handled last year's energy crisis in the state, and appears vulnerable to a Republican challenge in November.

Conservatives believe Simon is their best chance of unseating Davis, and according to Tony Strickland, chairman of the state Assembly's GOP Caucus, "the best hope for the future of the Republican Party."

"As a successful businessman, he understands the bottom line. As a former federal prosecutor, he's demonstrated the toughness for the job," Strickland said. "As a hands-on leader in California charities, he's proven he can reach out to all Californians."

Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy said Simon "knows what he stands for and he stands firm."

But Simon also came under attack at the convention. Jones criticized him for never having voted in a California primary election. "You cannot show up the year you want to run in the primary having not voted in the primary," Jones said. Simon admitted he failed to vote in three of the last five primaries and said, "It was a mistake."

Because Simon, a 50-year-old investor and son of a former U.S. Treasury secretary, has no political track record, Assemblyman Bob Pacheco said he was supporting Riordan. Assemblyman Scott Bogh is also supporting Riordan and says the ex-mayor's record speaks for itself.

"The guy just got things done," Bogh said. "Riordan is the leader that California needs right now. Sure there are some issues we disagree on, but those are not the things that are important to most Californians."

With less than a month before the March 5 primary, the Simon and Jones camps are attacking Riordan for contributing money to Democrat campaigns and straying from the GOP on issues such as gun control, abortion and the death penalty.

"You have to have more than just name ID," Jones told Riordan during the convention's debate. "You have to believe in the basic philosophy of the Republican Party."

On Friday, three former chairmen of the California Republican Party publicly criticized Riordan for wavering from the party platform.

"After careful review of Mr. Riordan's record .... we feel only one conclusion can be reached: Dick Riordan is no Republican," John Herrington, Michael Schroeder and John McGraw said in a statement.

"Mr. Riordan's record has put us at odds with our core beliefs time and time again. Mr. Riordan's countless endorsements and financial contributions to Democrat candidates ... has amounted to nothing more than outright betrayal of our basic principles, something that we can never accept," their letter continued.

Riordan reportedly twice endorsed Democrat U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and gave $10,000 to a committee established by former Democrat state Assembly Speaker and current San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Trying to quell challenges to his party loyalty, Riordan said he supported Democrat causes during his tenure as mayor to help build coalitions among fellow lawmakers. As for supporting abortion rights, Riordan said he did.

"We need a platform that's going to respect differences of opinions if we are going to get Republicans elected," Riordan said in a Jan. 22 debate. "I am against abortion, but I respect a woman's right to make her own decision."

Democrat campaign strategist Bob Mulholland is not sure Riordan's explanations will resonate with most Republicans.

Pointing to former Deukmejian's comments, Mulholland said the Republican Party had more intra-party friction now than at any time he can remember.

"I have never seen such discord, or such craziness, in the Republican Party," he said. "How often do you see a former governor of a party showing up to say if this person, Riordan, is the nominee, they will not vote for them?"

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Results of a Riordan's problems don't end there. Former Republican Gov. George Deukmejian said he wouldn't vote for Riordan even if the former mayor won the March 5 primary. He's a person I have no respect for, said Deukmejian. And there's no way I could vote for him...
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2002-00-11
Monday, 11 February 2002 12:00 AM
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