As part of a five-stop election endorsement tour through California, Gov. Schwarzenegger will visit the Elephant Bar & Restaurant in Goleta this afternoon to show his support for 35th District Assembly candidate Bob Pohl.
Josh Finestone, Pohl’s campaign manager, said the governor will fly into Santa Barbara Airport and will head directly to the Elephant Bar at 3:30 p.m. Schwarzenegger will speak briefly in support of Pohl and will greet Pohl supporters. The event is open to the public.
Spokespersons from the governor’s office contacted the Pohl campaign Thursday, Finestone said, with news the governor might stop in Santa Barbara to endorse Pohl. The Pohl campaign received confirmation of the governor’s visit on Saturday.
Finestone said Schwarzenegger has endorsed Pohl throughout his entire campaign, but he said Pohl is one of only five state Assembly and Senate candidates to receive an in-person endorsement from the governor. He said the governor chose Pohl’s campaign because he considered it “clearly winnable.”
“Gov. Schwarzenegger looks at Bob Pohl and sees someone who is not the typical politician,” Finestone said. “He’s able to work across the party aisle, he’s constantly fighting for his constituents and he’s not beholden to special interest groups. It’s natural [the governor] would come down for this.”
Pohl said ideological similarities between he and Schwarzenegger, such as their mutual pro-choice and pro-education stances, as well as Pohl’s support for building a “green economy” within California, motivated the governor to appear for the endorsement.
“His personal appearance shows his commitment to my election and to my desire to end politics as usual in Sacramento,” Pohl said. “That’s very encouraging.”
Democratic candidate Pedro Nava, who is running against Pohl for the 35th District seat, said voters should question Schwarzenegger’s motives in his endorsement of Pohl.
“I think it’s interesting that the governor just came back from Ohio where he was campaigning for George W. Bush,” Nava said. “Now he’s coming to Santa Barbara to campaign for Bob Pohl. They’re both being supported by big oil … I think that shows the interests of people in Santa Barbara are not well represented by George W. Bush or by Bob Pohl.”
Firestone said the endorsement from Schwarzenegger could sway voters who are still undecided about which candidate they will vote for.
Nava said he does not think the governor’s appearance will sway many voters to vote for Pohl. The governor’s attempt to cut funding for education and financial aid will likely be a more pressing issue in the minds of students and other attendees.
“The voters of the 35th District have demonstrated a long history of making up their own minds on these issues,” Nava said. “I don’t think the governor’s appearance will make any difference.”