In the early months of 2003, the state’s growing deficit was giving the Gray Davis administration a huge headache. The closer-than-expected, nervefraying victory of November 2002 was behind the campaign team now, although not for long. Sadly for the incumbent, the growing demands of the $38-billion budget gap kept the Davis corps from appreciating the shifting winds in the state’s volatile political climate. Sure, the administration thought, the deficit was an irritation, but one that could be handled with careful management. Nevertheless, what was characterized as a fiscal concern for state public policy makers would soon become a full-fledged political problem that would ultimately, in a stunning reversal of fortune, cost the governor his job.