WIlliam Foster, Governor's Office
Austrian-born Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t run for President. But that’s not stopping him from trying to influence the next Presidential election.
Schwarzenegger plans to travel around the country, spotlighting issues:
“I think it’s very important that we make the candidates from both of the parties address some of those important issues that are not only important to our state, for instance the environment, healthcare, social security, immigration reform and – those are issues that ought to be debated on a national level.”
He also wants to move the state’s primary up from June to February. Legislative elections would still be held in June. The Republican Governor says that would give the state more relevance in the Presidential election. Democratic strategist Bob Mulholland says it’s a pipe dream:
“California never will replace Iowa and New Hampshire. They’re the key states and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
State legislation would be required to move the primary. Schwarzenegger says he hasn’t yet decided who to endorse for President in 2008. He did say he’d support a constitutional amendment that would allow naturalized citizens to run for the top job….but he said that wasn’t a personal goal.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez is a big fan of Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to move California’s primary.
He says political candidates use the state as an A-T-M: They fund-raise here, and then take off.
But Nunez says he’d also like to put a measure on the ballot in February to change the way the state’s political districts are drawn, and to extend term limits.
“One of the things that is helpful to all of us who realize that it’s important to maintain stability in the legislature and not dilute the power of the legislature.... is by making sure that we cement the knowledge base that we have here in longer terms. 6 years for members of the assembly’s not good enough.”
Nunez terms out of the Assembly in 2008.