SPECIAL SERIES : 2006 General Election
Angelides Supporters Excited Even in Defeat
November 8, 2006 1:54 AM
SACRAMENTO - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides’ fate appeared to be sealed even before his Nov.7 election night party began, but for many of his supporters the treasurer’s loss was overshadowed by the Democrats’ overwhelming victory in the Congress.
With his three daughters crying behind him, a smiling Angelides congratulated Gov. Schwarzenegger and his family on their victory.
“This has been the most energizing experience of my life,” Angelides said.
Many of Angelides’ supporters said Gov. Schwarzenegger had essentially run as a Democrat in order to defeat the treasurer.
“Ninety percent of Schwarzenegger’s agenda, I support – that is this year,” said John Raymond Garamendi, the Democratic candidate for lt. governor, referring to the governor’s recent stances on minimum wage and the environment.
“After the debacle of 2005 he took up every one of the Democratic running points,” Garamendi said. “He gave Phil Angelides very little room to work with.”
Lifelong Democrat Cindy Clearly said, although she considers the Governor “fickle,” she hopes he will continue his liberal policymaking.
“Schwarzenegger is a Democrat in disguise. If he would have just come out and admitted it, we would be fine,” Clearly said.
Education was one issue that separated Angelides from Gov. Schwarzenegger during their campaigns. Angelides had said he would repeal the public-university fee hikes that were implemented under Gov. Schwarzenegger.
Although he was defeated, Angelides’ supporters said the new Congress would mean financial relief for college students.
“I really do believe it is going to help public education,” said the state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell.
O’Connell said a Democratic Congress will mean increased financial aid and more Pell Grants.
California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez said the Republican Congress had “turned their backs on students,” and he expected a renewed focus on higher education.
Even though there were scattered boos when Angelides announced his concession, many Democrats are maintaining a positive outlook because of other Democratic victories.
“It is a great year to be a Democrat,” said event organizer Brian Brokaw, a UC Berkeley graduate who also worked on John Edwards’ 2004 campaign. “At the end of the day Bush is still the president, but there will no longer be a rubber stamp congress.”
State Controller Steve Westly, who lost a close primary to Angelides, used similar words to sum up the night.
“We are going to take back the house, and Nancy Pelosi will be speaker of the house. This election will be a referendum on the president,” Westly said, referring to the San Francisco congresswoman who is likely to become the next speaker of the house.
Many Angelides supporters spent the night huddled around television monitors as congressional results rolled in.
Cheers erupted from the crowd gathered at the Grand Sheraton Hotel when CNN projected that the Democrats had won a majority in Congress.
“We are going to have a Democratic speaker, and a woman at that,” Jean Scully of Redondo Beach said.
At the end of the night, the Angelides camp claimed victory even in defeat.
“Phil Angelides has raised the bar on debate in California,” said Art Pulanski, executive secretary of the California Labor Federation, to a cheering crowd of Angelides’ supporters.
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