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2009/2010: Is the Arnold era over?

CALIFORNIA: The San Francisco Chronicle writes, "California voters soundly rejected a package of ballot measures Tuesday that would have reduced the state's projected budget deficit of $21.3 billion to something slightly less overwhelming: $15.4 billion. The defeat of the measures means that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature will have to consider deeper cuts to education, public safety, and health and human services, officials have said."

More: "Propositions 1A through 1E - which would have changed the state's budgeting system, ensured money to schools in future years and generated billions of dollars of revenue for the state's general fund - fell well behind in early returns and never recovered. The only measure that voters approved was Proposition 1F, which will freeze salaries of top state officials, including lawmakers and the governor, during tough budget years."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supported the defeated measures, released this statement last night: "Tonight we have heard from the voters and I respect the will of the people who are frustrated with the dysfunction in our budget system. Now we must move forward from this point to begin to address our fiscal crisis with constructive solutions. We face a staggering $21.3 billion deficit and in order to prevent a fiscal disaster, Democrats and Republicans must collaborate and work together to address this shortfall. The longer we wait the worse the problem becomes and the more limited our choices will be. That is why tomorrow, we will come together to begin to develop a budget solution that gets our state back on track."

FLORIDA: A new Florida poll shows Charlie Crist is the commanding front-runner for Senate, while Bill McCollum starts off with a slight lead over Alex Sink in the gubernatorial race. But a few warning signs for Crist: He ONLY has a 50% FAV rating among Republicans, and while he starts with a BIG lead over Marco Rubio in the primary, one can see the potential for vulnerability. As for McCollum, he's run statewide a number of times and yet is no more or less unknown as Sink. He'll need early money to redefine himself. Sink will have that money. Will McCollum?

NEW JERSEY: Yes, it's New Jersey. But an incumbent Democratic governor polling under 40% and trailing the GOP front-runner is something that strikes us as serious trouble for Corzine.