The Stetsons have been tossed into the corral, and the long showdown to High Noon is under way. That is to say, Republican Gov. George Deukmejian and Democratic Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles have announced their candidacies for governor. Thus is set the rematch of 1982, when Deukmejian won by a whisker.
If this were a western, it would be like casting Gary Cooper in co-equal leading roles. The dialogue would consist of "Yup." "Nope." Or "Maybe." Some will say, "Wake us when it's over."
The Duke's announcement speech on Feb. 18 was laden with more trick English than was really necessary. Sample: "We can continue with a California that's robust, or we can go back to a California that went bust." Bradley's round of speeches on Tuesday was not a whole lot better. He pledged to represent all Californians and not be a chief executive who is "a caretaker for the rich and privileged." Hardly an original charge by a Democrat challenging a Republican incumbent.
There is no escaping it: This will seem like one of the longest gubernatorial campaigns in modern California history--not counting 1946, whenEarl Warren ran against himself. This is not just because neither Deukmejian nor Bradley is a rousing orator. Neither man has a serious primary-election opponent, so it is one-on-one until November.