Do you remember Arianna Huffington the conservative Republican? She and her husband Michael exploded on the political scene of the California Central Coast in 1992.
Michael Huffington took on an over 9-term Republican incumbent Bob Lagomarsino and handed the veteran politician the first election defeat in his 34-year political career.
Unseating an incumbent cost millions and that was just the primary. Then there was the general election.
He spent $5.4 million, a national record, for a lot of negative television commercials, $5.1 million of his own oil fortune was poured into the race.
The other part of selling a candidate was going around to newspapers and talking to the editors to get an endorsement from the editorial pages. Michael was an introverted, soft-spoken Stanford graduate. Arianna was quick witted Cambridge grad and author; energetic in advancing her Reagan Republican husband’s platform.
I remember a reporter’s post-interview observation that the wrong spouse was running. All the best quotes in the notebook were from Arianna.
Quoting from an profile by Jan Greene:
As the race for the Republican congressional nomination heats up, Michael Huffington has pulled out a secret weapon: his wife Arianna.
The Greek-born best-selling author, socalite and mother has taken a hiatus from writing her latest book to stump for her husband.
She may even come to your door, since she’s spending some of her time walking precincts in San Luis Obispo County.
You’ll know her when you see her — she’s the perfectly coiffed, incredibly gracious and well-mannered denizen of London, New York and Houston with a mysterious Mediterranean accent.
After one term in the House of Representatives the ambitious couple dipped into their savings account again and Michael ran for U.S. Senate only to narrowly lose to Dianne Feinstein. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1997 but Arianna is more involved in politics today than ever with her blog The Huffington Post.
Her political compass now points more to the left.
The same wit and charm she used in ink stained, small town newspaper offices is now on display on 24-hour cable news channels and on the internet.
So now the tables have turned, and a newspaperman is looking for her endorsement. Say Arianna, do you think you could post a link to my web log?
Photos by Jan Greene, above and David Middlecamp
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