A good, if somewhat credulous, look at the GOP GOTV (that's "Get Out the Vote") effort in California. Schwarzenegger's election is in the bag, in large part because he metamorphed into the most liberal governor the state has had since Pat Brown. In reality, it's because after last year's debacle, he has been the weakest governor the state has had since Goodwin Knight, a caretaker celebrity pol who is essentially the sockpuppet of the State Legislature. After a dreadful, stupid four months of campaigning, Angelides seems to be recovering a little at the end, with a good debate performance last Saturday and a nice ad (finally) giving the base a positive reason to vote for him. But he'll lose, and most Democrats won't lose sleep over having a weak lame duck in the governor's mansion for four more years, especially if it means electing Villaraigosa (or Newsom) to a term when redistricting will be on the docket.
The most recent polls show some close races downticket, but no GOTV effort is going to elect Republicans to the other offices without a dramatic change in the political dynamic, and none of the factors that made it so pivotal in Ohio in 2004 are present here. Their one chance is to hope liberals aren't motivated to vote this year, a vain hope that probably vaporized when Mark Foley sent his last I.M.