It wasn’t long ago that Phil Angelides was the unquestioned front-runner for
the Democratic nomination for governor of California. But he has fallen
behind in the polls. Some pundits have even said that he expected the
nomination and was running an unfocused campaign. And that was before
longtime donor and business partner Angelo Tsakopoulos and his daughter gave
$5 million to a new independent-expenditure committee that seems to have so
far done Angelides more harm than good.
But Angelides professes to be comfortable in the underdog role. After all,
he got his start as a college student working for one of the all-time great
political renegades, Pete McCloskey, when he challenged Richard Nixon for
the 1972 Republican presidential nomination.
On the eve of the state Democratic convention, Angelides sat down with
Capitol Weekly to talk about the governor’s race and his plans for the
Capitol Weekly: How important is the convention for you?
Phil Angelides: Well, I’m going to seek the endorsement. It’s going to be hard to get to 60 percent just because people can vote “no endorsement.” [The party] hasn’t endorsed in a primary since 1990.
Steve Westly and I have both been very active for 20-plus years in
Democratic Party politics. The fact is that people who have worked with us
both have overwhelmingly said I’m the person whose got the strength, the
conviction and the ability to lead this state, from Barbara Boxer and Diane
Feinstein to Nancy Pelosi to Fabian N