Independent Candidate for California Governor Getting Noticed
By Mark Anderson
Chelene Nightingale is not a household name in every corner of America; but this American Independent Party (AIP) gubernatorial candidate is making tremors in the key state of California, as various candidates across the country with messages contrary to mainstream Democrats and Republicans make inroads.
Overall, Ms. Nightingale shows as much or more promise than Republican Debra Medina, who tried to defeat incumbent Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the March 2 primary. Medina made a strong showing with a bold, constitutionalist message that resonated with voters, but still was defeated.
Perry, who won his party’s nomination, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who placed second in that widely watched race, were the preconceived top vote-getters in the minds of most major media and the GOP party machine that will barely tolerate “heretics” such as Medina, who ran for office as a Republican outside the mainstream GOP’s narrow philosophical “box.”
But Ms. Nightingale is running outside the two-party system itself, under the banner of the AIP, which is California’s Constitution Party sub-affiliate. She has scant AIP competition in the June 8 primary and expects to campaign all year long until the November general election, unlike Medina, who chose to stay in the hostile GOP machine and got knocked out early.
Notably, Ms. Nightingale is seen in her economically strangled state as having a reasonable chance against well-financed candidates from the two “big box” political parties. Nightingale’s campaign manager, John Baldwin, told AMERICAN FREE PRESS March 8 that in comparing web traffic, her campaign has been edging out Republican-endorsed candidate
Steve Poizner. This is notable since Poizner has spent $20 million while Nightingale operates on minimal funding.
Baldwin noted that according to StatBrain.com, a web site that displays web visits to any site on the Internet, the web site NightingaleForGovernor.com came in ahead of Poizner’s web site, rivaled Jerry Brown’s and pulled 21 percent of Meg Whitman’s overall web traffic. A “visit” refers to each time an individual looks at (opens) a web site. The Nightingale web site generates an average of 323 web visits or hits per day; Poizner, about 263; Jerry Brown is at 463; and Whitman 1,934.
Whitman, a former eBay CEO, will face Poizner in the June 8 primary and narrow the field even more. There are sundry candidates from other parties as well. And Democrat Brown is the former California governor seeking to return to office. Incumbent Arnold Schwarzenegger was term-limited out.
According to a California Policy Institute poll, “voters are ready to vote outside the two main parties.” “This places the Nightingale for Governor campaign in a solid position this election period,” a Nightingale news release reported.
The Nightingale team links this Internet success “to current voter temperament, as 44 percent of Californians are still undecided with respects to Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates.”
The CPI’s quarterly report contained such findings. If a state with a large electoral footprint like California may be ready to elect a governor outside the two-party system, maybe the whole system will begin to unravel.
“California and Texas represent a shift in the nation,” Baldwin stated, “toward a more independent and constitutional mindset.” He said these two big states are “a great reflection of voter temperament nationwide and a great representation of the nation as a whole,” demographically.
Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now serving as deputy editor for AMERICAN FREE PRESS. Together he and his wife Angie provide many photographs of the events they cover for AFP. Listen to Anderson’s When Worlds Collide radio program at www.republicbroadcasting.org, 7-9 p.m. Saturdays (CST).
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(Issue # 12, March 22, 2010)