Calif.: Arnold Beefs Up Campaign Team
As he prepares for a major reelection fight, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is turning to two battle-tested veterans of the Bush campaign to lead the effort.
Steve Schmidt, who is currently a senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, will head to California next month to take over as campaign manager where he will have a broad mandate over spending and strategic decision, according to a source familiar with the arrangement. Matthew Dowd, a senior Bush campaign strategist, will take on a similar role for Schwarzenegger. Both Schmidt and Dowd were part of the Bush campaign inner circle credited with delivering a second term in 2004.
With Schmidt and Dowd moving in, some insiders wondered about the fate of GOP media doyenne Mike Murphy, who has long been a close political adviser to the Governator. Murphy will remain in the Schwarzenegger universe as an adviser but in a strictly volunteer capacity, according to a source familiar with the situation. Murphy has a full plate down the line as he counts Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) as clients. Both men are considered likely to run for president in 2008.
Regardless of his campaign team, Schwarzenegger faces a difficult fight to win a second term. While his poll numbers seem to be on the rebound, he still is viewed more unfavorably than favorably by the state's voters. The two Democrats seeking to defeat him -- Controller Steve Westly and Treasurer Phil Angelides -- are well-funded but little-known.
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