Thursday, November 17, 2005

Anticipating Margee Ensign’s Speech

This is just a reminder that Margee Ensign is going to speak tonight at a fundraising dinner for the Diablo Valley Young Democrats. A number of anti-Pombo folks (including all of the co-authors of this blog) are going to attend in order to suss Ensign out a bit.

Tonight’s announcement also prompted a brief article in the Stockton Record, in which Ensign re-affirms the plans she discussed earlier with VPO. Here are the first two paragraphs from the article:


A University of the Pacific dean said Wednesday she will raise money and stump while mulling a campaign to oust Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, in next year's election.

Margee Ensign, dean of Pacific's School of International Studies, said she would form an exploratory committee, gauging support for her candidacy before deciding to officially enter the race. She plans to formally announce the committee at a lecture today before a class at Diablo Valley College in the East Bay.


I assume the author made a mistake when he placed the announcement at a lecture, rather than the dinner. But that aside, I’m a bit mystified by the implicit time table this sets up for an Ensign candidacy. I did not consider it earlier, but the following questions now occur to me: Why would Ensign simply announce an exploratory committee at this time? Why not declare now, work hard, and pull the plug if she gets no traction?

Time is of the essence in this race. Ensign will need to raise a huge sum of money to be competitive, and she’s already behind her competition. So I just don’t understand the strategic payoff of waiting to declare.
Furthermore, if she dallies too long before announcing, she’ll give the impression that she does not really want to fight to oust Pombo. We need someone who is committed to defeating the guy. I gave Ensign points for waiting until after the special election on the charitable assumption that she was too busy fighting Arnold to simultaneously campaign against Pombo. But unless she gets her act in gear soon, she may find herself something of a Janie-come-lately to this race.

That said, I suppose it’s not fair to form strong conclusions based on what might be simply semantics. Hopefully, after hearing her tonight we’ll be able to apply the walk-like-a-duck-talks-like-a-duck analysis to whether she’s in the race or not. So check back tomorrow for a full round of analysis courtesy of Say No to Pombo’s crack reporting team.

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