Part two of a two-part series. Read part one.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 | For two decades, George Gorton had served Pete Wilson as a key architect of the politician’s rise from San Diego mayor to U.S. senator to California governor.
In 1995, Wilson and team launched a run for president. A generation after the weight of Watergate crushed Gorton’s career, he readied his return to the national stage.
Then, one morning, a headline in the Sacramento Bee smashed that notion: Wilson had hired an outside consultant with national experience to head the campaign, shoving Gorton aside.
Gorton had been told nothing. He was fuming and ready to blow.
This was the man who’d helped build the Pete Wilson political machine and sculpt a generation of San Diego politics. He’d helped elect President Richard Nixon in 1972, only to be caught in the jaws of Watergate and have to spend years fighting his way through a personal and professional hell to recover.