Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says there is a fairly good possibility that a Republican could be the next governor in “the infamously liberal state” of California.
“[GOP candidate John] Cox (who I greatly respect and have worked with for years) has been gaining support since January and is now the second-place pick for governor among likely California primary voters,” Gingrich wrote in an op-ed for Fox News, citing the Public Policy Institute of California’s findings. “This puts him right behind the leading Democrat and represents a great potential for Cox to win the governorship seven months from now.”
Not all polling is accurate — as made evident during the 2016 election season. However, Gingrich says the survey results are “important” because California has an “unusual” election system.
All candidates for governor in California, for example, appear on a single ballot, rather than individual party primaries, the only state to have it set up this way along with Washington.
“California’s primary setup is a great system for silencing and drowning out political minorities, and it has likely been a big help to California Democrats since it was adopted in 2010,” Gingrich asserted. “This is why Cox’s polling gains are so important.”
In the Public Policy Institute of California survey, Cox earned 14 percent support against the five other primary candidates, as well as options for “someone else” and “don’t know.” This was up from 7 percent support in January. The top Democrat still has a significant lead on Cox, but nearly a quarter of likely voters in California remain undecided.
Gingrich added that Cox’s victory would be no easy feat, describing it as “difficult battleground.”
There are several competitive state elections that could also shift the political balance, according to Gingrich.
The significance of California lies in how stark of a victory it would be in a state deeply entrenched in liberal politics.
“If we can win there, it will show the nation that we can win everywhere,” Gingrich concluded.
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