Pete Wilson

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Pete Wilson (born August 23, 1933) was Mayor of San Diego (1971-1982), U.S. Senator from California (1983-1991), and the 36th Governor of California (1991-1999). He was a liberal Republican who, in the views of some, played a role in destroying the once-energetic conservative movement there and opening the door to political domination by liberals and massive emigration of conservatives and others from California to the neighboring states of Nevada and Arizona.

He unsuccessfully ran for president in 1996 and endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president in 2007, before switching his endorsement to John McCain on the eve of Super Tuesday.

His primary conservative accomplishment was appointing Janice Rogers Brown to the California Supreme Court and ignoring liberal attempts to smear her as somehow unqualified. Judge Brown was subsequently nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, after a two-year stall by Democratic opposition, as a federal appellate judge on the D.C. Circuit.

As governor, Pete Wilson also championed the cause of deregulation in the California electricity market. He succeeded when the California legislature, in 1996, passed a law requiring utility companies to purchase electricity on the market, rather than signing long-term contracts. In 2003, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission blamed the deregulation and poor control of the market for the energy crisis that occurred in California from 2000-2001.