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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

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Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« The blogosphere meets the recall | | Keep your eye on the infrequent voter »
August 12, 2003

Would Gray resign?

With polls showing his support eroding daily, the Davis-resignation rumors are hot and heavy around the Capitol again. And the resignation question has never ceded its first-place spot atop the list of questions I get from readers. So I am going to make a confession. Knowing Davis as I do, I never thought I would say this, but today, for the first time, I started to think that it is possible he might resign before the election. His position has deteriorated horribly in the past week and it is difficult to imagine a campaign that could pull him out of his tailspin. He can't even get the voters' attention; how is he going to persuade them? If his current condition were to persist past Labor Day, I could see Clinton leaning on him to quit, and arranging a golden parachute for him at an LA law firm.

BUT--don't believe what you keep hearing from national television pundits and national columnists. A Davis resignation would not scuttle the recall election. Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante would become governor, but the election would go forward, and a new governor could replace Cruz if Cruz failed to win the most votes. What happens to Cruz at that point is a subject of some debate. Some think he would be acting governor and return to his old job if he lost the election. Others think he would be out of a job completely at that point.

Why would Davis do this? He is not a big party man. He is certainly no friend of Cruz. The two detest each other, by most accounts, and the idea that Gray might take Cruz down with him is the one scenario that, while bizzare, makes the most sense. I could see Gray doing it if he thought it were in his self-interest, either to provide for a better retirement if he concluded he was toast anyway, or to avoid the shame of losing a 70-30 vote, if that's what the polls showed, or both.

Do I think it will happen? No. Could it happen? For the first time, I have to say the answer is yes. But it's still premature. Gray has not really even begun to fight.

For all the details on the Davis resignation scenario, see my earlier post here.



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Daniel Weintraub


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