September 27, 2003


Getting the Bustamante Butterflies: Democrats fear the lieutenant governor's campaign has stalled, with no spark in sight (Matea Gold, September 27, 2003, LA Times)

After a lackluster performance in this week's debate and a rash of stories that highlighted criticism of his fund-raising, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante faces a growing perception that his campaign has stalled, according to fellow Democrats and independent analysts.

With 10 days left until the Oct. 7 election, Bustamante "has to be much more public and build some momentum for his candidacy," said Democratic consultant Gale Kaufman. "He did that on the front end, but now he's been more quiet. And in order to ensure Democratic turnout, it's incumbent for him to get out and build it."

Among Democratic leaders and constituency groups, anxiety has begun to take hold that Bustamante's campaign is fumbling its opportunities, said a Democratic official with ties to both the lieutenant governor and Gov. Gray Davis who spoke on condition that he not be named.

"People are almost cringing sometimes, saying, 'He's got to be stronger,' " the official said. [...]

But since entering the race in August, Bustamante has been unable to climb above 30% in public opinion polls, putting him neck and neck with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California indicated that many Democrats remain ambivalent about the lieutenant governor, with just 49% saying they plan to vote for him.

"The challenge is to develop a degree of momentum, and with 10 days out it's awfully difficult," said David Provost, a political science professor at Cal State Fresno and the author of a college textbook on California politics.

The problem for Mr. Bustamante, as it is for Gray Davis, is that the more people see of him the less they like of him. That's not a helpful quality in politics, or life, for that matter.

Bustamante ordered to explain lack of refunds: Senator may seek contempt charges if he's not satisfied. (Alexa H. Bluth, September 27, 2003, The Sacramento Bee)

A Sacramento judge ordered Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante on Friday to prove that he tried in earnest to cancel television ad contracts and return money for the recall campaign that he collected in violation of the state's campaign finance laws.
If Sen. Ross Johnson, who filed the original lawsuit against Bustamante, is not satisfied that he made a good-faith effort to comply with the order, the judge wrote, Johnson may seek contempt charges.

"The Court does expect a good faith effort to cancel what may be reasonably canceled," wrote Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster.

His future isn't worth a plugged buffalo nickel.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 27, 2003 7:37 AM

Perhaps Bustamante will claim that he is an illegal immigrant, thus exempting him from the judge's order.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 27, 2003 11:11 PM

Hard to see how Busty gets the momentum to beat Arnold when the press is reporting his campaign funding problems for the last 10 days of the campaign. The only thing that can stop Arnold is a bombshell last minute story (like Bush's DWI in '00) or McClintock.

Posted by: AWW at September 27, 2003 11:21 PM