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Political Play of the Week

California's governor gets his wish

By Bill Schneider
CNN senior political analyst

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Winning one primary is an achievement. Winning two primaries on the same day -- that's a political Play of the Week.

On Tuesday, Gray Davis won the Democratic nomination for a second term as governor of California.

Big deal. He was virtually unopposed.

The big deal was that Davis spent $10 million running ads in the Republican primary against Richard Riordan -- the early front-runner and the White House favorite.

"Gray Davis, we have a simple message for you. The Republican primary is not for sale," said Riordan, the GOP gubernatorial candidate

Really? On Tuesday, Riordan got his head handed to him. And Davis got the opponent he wanted -- Bill Simon, a staunch conservative in a state that's been moving to the left for the past decade.

"I believe many of his ideas are out of step and out of touch with most Californians," said Gov. Davis.

Democrats gloated over a result they called.

"It's an embarrassment for the White House," said DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

Davis' game plan is to make the November election a referendum on his opponent.

"Bill Simon is a true-blue think-tank conservative. That's all right. I am a practical problem-solver," said Davis.

But Simon has another idea: Remember who's governor.

"The issue in this election is really going to be Gray Davis' leadership," said Simon, the GOP gubernatorial nominee.

So far, it's working according to Davis' plan. He got to pick his opponent and embarrass the White House. How neat is that? Neat enough for the political Play of the Week.

Gov. Davis got just what he wished for -- a right-wing opponent.

But you know the old saying: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.




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