California's general election season kicked off on Wednesday, pitting State Treasurer Phil Angelides, a democrat, against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Angelides, who had claimed the Democratic nomination to oppose Schwarzenegger, pledged early Wednesday morning to turn his candidacy into a "fight for the California of our dreams."
Rival Steve Westly, the State Controller, called Angelides from Los Angeles to concede the contest and congratulate his erstwhile foe. The contest to choose the Democratic normination had been a tossup between the two, but Angelides had maintained a small but steady lead.
"I will not let you down," Angelides told exuberant supporters in Sacramento, California after months of vitriolic campaigning. He said he would "hit the road tomorrow as the Democratic nominee for governor."
Schwarzenegger, facing no serious opposition, easily won the Republican nomination and planned to set out today on a bus trip through the Central Valley as the formal kickoff of his reelection effort.
The race drew national attention because it focused on immigration, a thorny issue that Democrats are hoping will help them wrest control of Congress from the Republicans. Election will be held in mid November.
"I believe we can give hardworking families a chance to climb the ladder of success," Angelides said. "I believe we can give our kids the best education in the world. I believe it is time for a governor that California can count on to stand up for hardworking people."
The path the Democrat has called for is one filled with the recipes of the past: higher taxes, more spending and partisanship, while Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has held the line on taxes and repealed the unfair car tax.