Recall the recall for a moment, if you would. You know, the 2003 special election that asked voters two questions:
1) Shall Gray Davis be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?
2) Candidates to succeed Gray Davis as Governor if he is recalled:
Which was followed by a list of candidates that included Arnold Schwarzennegger, who managed to fend off the likes of Larry Flynt, Arianna Huffington, and Gary Coleman, among the list of 134 other hopefuls, to take the prize. (If you can call winning the governorship of this state a prize.)
Anyhoo, after the circus left town, then State Attorney General Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, caused a stir when he publicly stated at an election post-mortem that he had voted against the recall on the first question, but had voted for Arnold on the second. Schwarzennegger represented “hope, change, reform, opportunity, upbeat problem solving,” Lockyer was quoted as saying.
Yesterday at the Sacramento Press Club, our bureau chief John Myers asked an eight-years-later follow-up question to Lockyer’s statement:
“At the post-mortem after the recall campaign, you shocked a few people. You said you voted against the recall but you voted for Schwarzennegger. In retrospect, (do) you stick with that vote, (or) do you regret that vote?
Lockyer began his answer with this:
“Well, I sure shouldn’t have said it.”
Listen to the rest of his answer below; an edited transcript follows:
[audio:http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2011/07/lockyeronarnold.mp3|titles=lockyeronarnold]Bill Lockyer on why he voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003
The problem was the alternative. You remember the list of (100 or whatever)that number was of people running for gov. id idn’t see a single person on tha tlist who could competently lead and govern the state of calif. that was praticularly true of some relatively well-known people on that list. And so for me it was kind of a choice of, like voters at the time, we’re gambling, we’re taking a risk that this new fresh voice is really going to bring people together and wer’e going to have a less partisan opportunity to make advancements in the state. Well , we were all wrong about wehether we oucld get that. we didn’t get that.
Mostly the Republicans would be the ones that would be grumpy. The Democrats, it’s sort of a mixed bag, some like it, some don’t. They liked the environment or they didn’t like labor or budget. So…it was the choice at the time, and I guess I should have just abstained entirely and said none of them, just stick with Gray.