The Blog

Mary Carey Does Recall

"We've had Brown, we've tried Gray, now it's time for some blonde," the porn star/candidate says.

12:00 AM, Sep 5, 2003 • By BILL WHALEN
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And if you don't like it, blame Europe, which already has given recall Arnold and Arianna. Italian politics produced the porn star Cicciolina (real name Ilona Staller), who represented the Radical party in parliament from 1987 to 1992. You might remember her for baring her left breast to highlight her left-wing politics, and her offer to have sex with Saddam Hussein if he'd free foreigners he was holding hostage. Last year, Peter Bond, a former German porn star turned game-show host, ran for parliament as a liberal Free Democrats party candidate. For once, California's not setting a trend.

There's another way of looking at Mary Carey's candidacy: she symbolizes a part of the Golden State economy that no recall candidate dares touch. The San Fernando Valley is home to some of the nation's biggest studios (Disney, Warner Brothers) and Californians trickiest swing voters. It also produces about 80 percent of America's porn and 90 percent of its sex toys, according to some estimates. That translates to about 9,000 jobs in the region (the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation lumps porn into a more general category of mainstream entertainment, for a total of 227,700 workers and $30 billion in gross revenues).

Carey's not the only buxom blonde in the race (Los Angeles billboard queen Angelyne also is running). Nor is she the only candidate with ties to porn (Hustler publisher Larry Flynt). But a consultant could have fun with her candidacy. Carey says she's half Cherokee Indian: watch out Cruz, she can talk to the tribes. Her business--Mary Carey Inc.--has its headquarters in Delray Beach, Florida. Who better to speak about California's hostile business climate?

Or you could just buy her dinner. Gray Davis's political fortunes began to slide when reporters realized that access to his administration came with a $100,000 price tag. Carey's asking price is 1/20th of that for a whole night on the town. That's a bargain by California standards--even if a lap dance isn't included.

Bill Whalen is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he follows California and national politics.