Joe's Campaign Diary (With Bittersweet Conclusion)
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Read the rest of the Joe Guzzardi recall campaign story:

10/24/03 - The Modesto Bee Says Sorry (Sort Of)

10/10/03 - Why I Won

10/07/03 - Joe Guzzardi Returns From The Campaign Trail!

08/08/03 - Establishment To California: Shut Up About Immigration In This Election!

For the twelve weeks that I campaigned in California's Recall Election, I kept a daily diary. Flipping through its pages last night, I noticed that I had written—on various dates—"Davis can survive," "Davis is toast," "Schwarzenegger?" "Bustamante needs a career change," "Is Uberroth on medication?" "Simon is in a daze," "Huffington is amusing and irritating at the same time," "McClintock has no idea how to win."

Along the trail, I occasionally questioned the wisdom of my foray into politics. But one defining moment—a Saturday morning meeting of family victims of violent crime at the hands of illegal aliens in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office—reaffirmed my commitment to immigration reform.

That morning, people whose loved ones were killed by illegal aliens who then fled to Mexico told their stories. And hearing those tragic tales instilled in me all the motivation I'll ever need to carry on.

A few selected diary excerpts:


August 14, Thursday: Polls put Bustamante in the early lead. If only I could make book on his defeat. I'm trying to think of a major office holder who was ever short, round, bald, boring, wore glasses and had a moustache. None come to mind.

August 15, Friday: Where's Arnold? He announced that he was running on August 7th, took off for New York for photo ops with inner city school kids. Is he still in New York? Will he run for California office from 3,000 miles away? Is he that afraid of the California press? I'm speculating that he will reconsider his decision to run, make an excuse citing 'family obligations' and drop out.

Peter Brimelow announces my candidacy to VDARE.COM readers – with the news that my column must be suspended until after the election because the site is legally unable to endorse candidates. I didn't anticipate this and it's a heavy blow.

August 21, Thursday: Arnold is not dropping out. This is mildly embarrassing, since I have told everyone that I expect him to fold his tent. His new website, is up. Not a shred of policy information, although it is possible to make online donations.

August 22, Friday: A supporter calls to ask me why I am running. I tell him that I want to get the message out about the impact of illegal immigration. I point out to him that none of the other candidates –including McClintock, who has now become the darling of the California grassroots immigration groups—have a word about it on their websites. My friend calls the 800 number for Schwarzenegger. He's told to look for Schwarzenegger's immigration views 'any day.' [Nothing is ever posted.]

August 24, Wednesday: Another day without any major newspaper commenting on Schwarzenegger's economic recovery team. For a guy who is running as the people's candidate, the August 14 selection of globalists Warren Buffett and George Schultz seems odd. Who will represent the people—Rob Lowe?

September 1, Monday: Davis can survive! Schwarzenegger avoids every issue. He refuses to enter the September 3rd debate in Walnut Creek. The other candidates are ineffective. McClintock—a conservative Republican in the ultra-liberal California—will not embrace immigration as an issue. He speaks about it convincingly on talk radio but not to the tough audiences.

McClintock fools many but not me. He has promised the grassroots groups an "atomic bomb on immigration." But so far, McClintock hasn't delivered it. [He never did.] My view is that he'll never be strong enough on immigration to take him over the top.

September 3, Wednesday: Joined by volunteers Brenda Walker, Tim Aaronson, Carol and Arnold Joyal, I headed to Walnut Creek—where the first, Arnoldless debate is being held—to distribute flyers.

Outside the convention center, we watched the long black limos drive the big-name candidates into the underground garage. While they were priming, I got a lot of face time on television and was interviewed by numerous reporters as they waited for the debate to begin.

By the time I returned to Lodi, I had several calls waiting for me from supporters to tell me they have just seen me on television.

September 4, Thursday: Schwarzenegger? While the press creamed him for not participating in the debate, I am much more intrigued by his performance in Long Beach. When a heckler threw an egg at him, Schwarzenegger quickly responded, 'He owes me bacon now.' The crowd went wild. Schwarzenegger has a quick wit, is a popular figure and, since so few seem to care about issues, one who can win.

September 10, Wednesday: Davis is toast. He signed SB 60—drivers licenses for illegals—and enraged the very people he needs to avoid recall: the middle class workers of California. I have predicted for weeks that Davis would be a net loser of votes if he signed this highly unpopular bill.

September 15, Monday: McClintock has no idea how to win. Still avoiding a full-out assault on the one issue that could move him up in the polls – immigration—he posted two endorsements on his website. One is from Gary Bauer and the other from Doctor Laura. These two are most well known for their pro-life positions. All well and good except abortion is not an issue in this recall election. And if it were, someone should remind McClintock that California is the most pro-choice state is the nation. Why post these endorsements without any compelling reason?

McClintock, I conclude, doesn't really want to win. He is happy in his ideological ghetto.

September 20, Saturday: Every single candidate should have been at the District Attorney's office this morning. In a meeting led by Deputy District Attorney Jan Maurizi and with DA Steve Cooley and numerous law enforcement officers present, victims of illegal alien violent crime tell their stories. The perpetrators have fled to Mexico where they are protected by the cowardly and hypocritical Vicente Fox administration. Maurizi previewed the website which will be devoted to bringing the killers back to California:

September 22, Monday: Attended the all-candidate Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Los Angeles. Felt guilty because Sam Francis in a column praised my earlier decision not to go. But had many laughs at and got more face time on local television news as we waited to go in.

Davis is deader than I thought. Leno made two illegal alien jokes.

  • 'In the audience tonight are 90 gubernatorial candidates. The other 200 people are illegal aliens on their way to get driver's licenses!'

  • 'Davis claims he is very proud to have people from every planet living in California. Every planet? I guess this illegal alien problem is worse than we realized.'

Six candidates did a dance routine before the show began. Mary Carey was chosen; I was not. As she performed, it became clear that Carey is a professional X-rated film star.

Leno, to the delight of all, commented that Carey should really not be allowed to run since 'her card as already been punched thousands of times.' Carey flipped Leno the bird, no doubt locking up more votes. [Appearing on the ballot under her real name of "Mary Cook," she got 10,136, finishing tenth.]

September 25, Thursday: The much-anticipated California Broadcaster's Debate at Sacramento State University took place. Schwarzenegger survived. Although the entire format was ludicrous and an insult to intelligent people everywhere, Schwarzenegger did what he had to do—not fall flat on his face. Schwarzenegger's acceptable performance represents more bad news for Davis.

September 27, Saturday (A.M.): As one of four candidates from San Joaquin County, I was invited to address "El Concilio," the local Council of Spanish Speakers. I was hesitant at first since I have been advertised in the house newspaper La Voz as "anti-immigrante" [anti-immigrant.] But since I am promoting 'an open and honest dialogue about immigration,' I proceeded.

And I'm glad I did since I was the only one to show up. I talked (in English) about the impact of illegal immigration on jobs and wages. And while I don't think anyone in the crowd will vote for me, we had some pleasant exchanges. I answered some of the questions in Spanish – don't think I can be accused of pandering! La Voz later published a correction about my immigration position stating that I am not "anti-immigrant" but favor a well-defined immigration plan that would allow California to provide for all its residents.

September 27, (P.M.): Sacramento Bee California editorial writer and blogger Daniel Weintraub and I met at his request. I am impressed. Weintraub is younger than I expected and really seems to understand the immigration issue. He tells me that Democratic advisors say it's over: Davis will be recalled and Schwarzenegger will win in a rout.

October 1: The long-awaited charges of sexual misconduct were finally leveled at Schwarzenegger by the Los Angeles Times. Some allegations are thirty years old! Convicted murderers have been released from prison since some of the alleged incidents occurred! I predict this will not damage Schwarzenegger.

October 5: Davis appeared on the Larry King Show. Trying to milk as much as possible from Schwarzenegger's sexual misbehavior, Davis gave a long sermon on how "inappropriate" it is for one person to "place his private parts" against another person's "private parts" without the consent of the person whose "private parts" were being infringed. And to emphasize that he has the moral authority to determine whose "private parts" should go where, Davis told King that he carried a prayer card in his shirt pocket so that the Lord is always with him.

This is obviously the last gasp of a dying candidacy. And the stuff of an outstanding Saturday Night Live skit!

October 7: At 20:01 Pacific Daylight Time, it is over. As predicted by Weintraub—and many others by this time—Davis is out and Schwarzenegger is in.

And so, without any last minute excitement, the Recall Election abruptly ended. The 2 million absentee ballots will not be a factor.

After the polls closed, I spoke with Lodi News-Sentinel reporter Jennifer Bonnet to give her my last minute impressions for her story the next day. I checked to see that my VDARE.COM piece announcing my return to journalism has been posted. It had.

And everybody got to bed early.

Davis got what he deserved. For five years, he has consistently promoted illegal alien measures. Although I am glad to see him gone, I'm saddened about what Davis has allowed to happen to California. He had to take the fall.


I got 1,262 votes, only about 50 of which come from people I can identify. (Supporters click here to see how many of you there were in your county – 28 in San Francisco!) I came about halfway up the list of candidates. And that's before absentee ballots, where I'm fairly certain of at least one more. (Mine.)

As I noted in my post-vote VDARE.COM analysis, the free media I got for the cause of immigration reform amply justified my effort.

But I must say that my candidacy was also a big missed opportunity. I look at the Vietnamese candidate, Van Vo, whom I met on the Leno set - nice guy, no real program - just wanted to do something to advance Vietnamese people by running for Governor. He got 6,227 votes. You can be sure they were all Vietnamese!

The top ten vote-winners in the race for governor consisted of four candidates with the imprimatur of major-party establishments (one of whom, Peter Ueberroth, dropped out); the Green Party candidate; one media celebrity; one show-business celebrity; two pornographers; and one individual who seems have benefited because voters confused his name with the winner.

A mere ten thousand votes would have put an immigration reformer in that select group.

I realize (more now than I did) that it's extremely hard for immigration reformers to think in terms of symbolic candidacies, either for themselves or others.

But it's the only way we can be sure of sending a message.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.

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