Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

John Campbell and the Endorsement Hierarchy



What does California Rep. John Campbell's, left, endorsement in the California governor's race mean? Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

California politicos were abuzz yesterday with the news that Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) had switched his endorsement in the governor's race from state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner to former eBay president Meg Whitman.

"John Campbell's reputation of leadership on economic and budgetary issues is why his endorsement means so much," said Whitman in a statement. For his part, Campbell called Whitman the "best candidate to manage our state, establish fiscal discipline in Sacramento and usher in the pro-growth tax relief our economy desperately needs."

Whitman forces cast Campbell's shift as a sign that momentum within the GOP establishment is shifting toward their candidate.

But, does it really mean that?

As always when endorsements happen, the Fix turns to our handy, dandy endorsement hierarchy to assess the impact -- if any -- of the move.

A quick primer on the endorsement hierarchy -- ranked from most important to least:

* The Symbolic Endorsement: Ted Kennedy backing Barack Obama during the 2008 primaries.
* The State-Specific Statewide Endorsement: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist throwing his support to John McCain just before the Sunshine State presidential primary.
* The Celebrity Endorsement: Chuck Norris for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
* The Newspaper Endorsement: Des Moines Register for John Edwards in 2004.
* The State-Specific Non-Statewide Endorsement: Rep. Zack Space supporting Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher's Senate bid in Ohio.
* The Obligatory Endorsement: Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran endorsing McCain's presidential bid in 2008.
* The Pariah Endorsement: Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris.

The Campbell endorsement fits squarely into the "state specific, non statewide endorsement" but with a twist: his decision to switch from Poizner to Whitman has a whiff of hoisting-on-one's-petard-ness that makes it slightly more influential.

That twist is lessened by the fact that in a state as large as California no one even knows their own Members of Congress much less cares who that member is endorsing in a gubernatorial primary that is a year off. And, although Campbell hails from cash-rich Orange County, Whitman is extremely wealthy and doesn't need any fundraising help.

Is it possible that Campbell's switcheroo has some impact among the activist community who are already following this race very closely? Sure. But, for the electorate at large this is a non-news event.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 16, 2009; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Twittering Gibbs
Next: Wag the Blog Redux: Palin vs Letterman

Comments

So typical, the State budget is billions in the red and the Repubs solution is to cut taxes.

Posted by: Honus | June 16, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Fix, you left out 2 excellent reader-suggested categories of endorsements.

Mark in Austin felt there were "Defensive Endorsements" -- endorsements sought by the sinking candidate, and usually from a high (but not very high) person in their own party. Macker begs prominent friends to endorse him publicly.

REClayton identified the "Self-interested Endorsement" -- an endorsement for someone who has unusual power within your party and must be endorsed even if it is a lost cause. Macker's elected friends agree to endorse him at the last minute because he has and will continue to raise fabulous money.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 16, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I can imagine that Huckabee wins a good number of votes based on his charisma alone. And don't compare Huckabee to Bush. GWB pretended to be evangelical in order to get votes, but could really not care less about evangelical issues.

==

Ummm. Bush may not have been willing to actually take on Roe v. Wade or try to get gays locked up, but that was because he really came to town to help out the privileged and the powerful.

Huckabee would be sincere in his social conservatism and I feel things would really go to hell under a Huckabee presidency. It's bad enough having a president who believes in market forces, to have one who believes that God meant all those nasty lines in Leviticus and Timothy would be the unleashing of hell.

Huckabee is a fundamentalist. Fundamentalists are violent people.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"COIndy: to the sort of uh person who would vote for Hucklebeee, Chuck Norris is an A-lister. And Tim LaHaye is a great writer, and Hal Lindsey is a great scholar, and George Bush was a great president."

I can imagine that Huckabee wins a good number of votes based on his charisma alone. And don't compare Huckabee to Bush. GWB pretended to be evangelical in order to get votes, but could really not care less about evangelical issues. Remember when he wouldn't even grett the anti-abortion marchers who marched to the front of his damn house?

Huckabee seems to actually care about the poor. Yeah, he does the whole crazy Reagan, free market is omnipotent thing, but at least he is more principled. I think that's why the Republican establishment disliked him. He was actually evangelical and pretended to be into Reaganomics. This is the opposite of Bush who pretended to be evangelical, but actually into Reaganomics. That's why the establishment loved him so much.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 16, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Campbell's switch MIGHT have some effect in CA-48 on the GOP primary, which I think includes Irvine and Newport Beach. But FWIW, that conservative Orange County CD went narrowly for BHO last year.

Posted by: mnteng | June 16, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

CC - the moonbats are always first and last on your blog. why is that?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 16, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

COIndy: to the sort of uh person who would vote for Hucklebeee, Chuck Norris is an A-lister. And Tim LaHaye is a great writer, and Hal Lindsey is a great scholar, and George Bush was a great president.

These uh people live in an alternative universe.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I think its cute that politicians and inside the beltway types think that endorsements by no-names and has-beens matter. And using the Chuckster as a model of "celebrity" is a real stretch in the use of the word.

Posted by: COIndy | June 16, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I think that Campbell holds sway among very conservative republican primary voters, which could make this significant. Campbell is a regular (possibly weekly) guest on the Hugh Hewitt show, broadcast during drive time in the Golden State. Plus, Hewitt has a strong affinity for Whitman, I think largely due to her ties to Mitt Romney. I would expect this endorsement to hold some sway with primary votes. For the general, it's meaningless.

Posted by: rosenblj | June 16, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

got the email about the endorsement yesterday, but didnt know he supported poizner first. as a califorian who loves politics and supports whitman this is good news! but i dont think it will matter much to the average voter.

Posted by: dee150586 | June 16, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Meg Whitman has so like no chance. She is one of the most untelegenic, uncharasmatic people in the universe. Sorry that's the way the world works. Think what you think about Ahnold, he will always be The Terminator.

She is more like The Refrigerator.

http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2006/06/14/PH2006061400729.jpg

Posted by: drindl | June 16, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company