Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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CA Gubernatorial Debate Tonight

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A funny thing happened on the way to . . . Orange County?

 

The Republicans who want to replace California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger square off later today in their first debate. 

State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former eBay chair Meg Whitman will joust at the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s Samueli Theater in Costa Mesa. 

The hour-long event is sponsored by New Majority California, an Orange County group that’s been trying to redefine the Golden State’s political landscape (translation: encouraging more moderate Republicans to run). 

Starting time is 5:30 p.m., PDT. You can view it here

The debate will be divided into three segments — budget/taxes/government spending; jobs/economy; planning for California’s future. 

The format will be a town-hall set-up: open stage, handheld microphones, no lecturns. Each candidate gets 2 minutes to answer a question and 1-minute rebuttals. Each candidate will be given a 3-minute closing statement. 

Questions were submitted in advance for the moderator’s review. And that person is Conan Nolan, of NBC4 Los Angeles. 

The audience will include New Majority members as well as representatives from GOP organizations, business groups and the media. The public’s not invited. 

So how it will affect the GOP primary? 

Whitman has a solid lead, a vast organization and money seemingly to burn. So her campaign is all about playing it safe — trying to avoid gaffes that can turn into game-changers, and trying to anticipate any and all curveballs and haymakers from Poizner. 

As for expectations: assuming she does better on the Ides of March than Julius Caesar, the race shouldn’t change much.

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Written by Bill Whalen

March 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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