Symbolic of their contrasting political situations, Gov. George Deukmejian campaigned across California with the entire Republican statewide ticket Sunday while his Democratic opponent, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, stumped for votes virtually by himself.
Far ahead in all the public opinion polls, Deukmejian was being leaned on by the other Republican candidates who see him as a popular incumbent with potential "coattails" who could help pull them to election victories on Tuesday.
But as Republicans campaigned side-by-side throughout the weekend, Democratic candidates for the most part went their separate ways, and it was usually away from the underdog Bradley. The lone exception was when Sen. Alan Cranston, in a tight reelection race with Republican Rep. Ed Zschau, appeared at late Sunday rally with the mayor in the predominantly black Crenshaw area of Los Angeles.
Bradley spent Sunday trying to rally blacks, Latinos and Jews--the heart of his political base--for a big get-out-the-vote effort that he hopes will propel him to an upset win. Cranston is jointly financing the effort with Bradley.
Racing from pulpit to pulpit, Bradley spoke at eight black churches in 4 1/2 hours in San Diego. In one church after another, his speeches had a strong religious tone.
"Praise the Lord. You've set me on fire," the Democratic gubernatorial candidate exclaimed after listening to the choir at Mt. Erie Baptist Church.
At another church, the man seeking to become the nation's first elected black governor told worshipers that Californians should "measure me on my character, not the color of skin."
But other Democratic candidates concerned about their own fate on election day were measuring Bradley by the public opinion polls. One Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity, said Bradley--unlike Deukmejian--"does not add anything" to the efforts of other candidates on the party ticket.
In support of all this, there was grumbling Sunday by strategists for Republican statewide candidates that Deukmejian had waited until too late in the campaign to help the rest of the GOP ticket--while at the same time, Bradley aides were grouching that other Democratic candidates had not done anything to help the mayor.
Furthermore, on election night all the Republican statewide candidates will be together as one unified ticket at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. The Democratic candidates will be more scattered.
Deukmejian--surrounded by the other statewide Republican candidates, including Zschau--took obvious pleasure in pointing to the contrast between the two parties at a campaign rally Sunday outside the Republican state headquarters in Burbank.
"We're taking our message to the people as a team. Have you seen the Democratic candidates (who are) running for statewide office appearing together anywhere in this state?" the governor asked rhetorically to a relatively small crowd of roughly 150 party faithful. After his audience responded with a loud "nooooo," Deukmejian added to laughter, "In fact, they're all running away from each other."
A Plea to Voters
At a post-rally press conference, Deukmejian said he was hoping for a "substantial" victory because that could help elect other Republicans, including legislators. Talking to reporters, but with his words really aimed at the voters, the governor said:
"I think it only makes good common sense that if people are going to vote for me, and they want to see my Administration continue, they'd want to elect others who share my agenda--and not elect people who have their own agenda and who will do what they can to try to make it more difficult for me."
Despite his pleadings to Republican activists to ignore the polls and guard against overconfidence, Deukmejian acknowledged to reporters that "I am pleased and very, very encouraged. We're looking forward to a very strong victory on Tuesday."
In 1982, when Bradley barely lost to Deukmejian in their first gubernatorial race, blacks failed to turn out in the overwhelming numbers the mayor had expected. And Latinos, although they apparently favor the mayor, usually vote in relatively low numbers.
"If there is going to be an upset on Tuesday, it will come from the black and Latino voters," said Bill Elkins, Bradley's top black adviser, in explaining why the mayor concentrated on minority communities in his final campaigning efforts.
"I tell you, I have a friend up there," Bradley told a black congregation at a San Diego church, smiling and looking up. "I know that with God, anything is possible."
Later, Bradley flew to Los Angeles for his Crenshaw appearance and also for a rally on the heavily Latino Eastside and a walking tour of Fairfax Avenue, traditional heart of the city's Jewish community.
300 in San Jose
Deukmejian also campaigned Sunday afternoon--along with the other GOP candidates--in a hangar at the San Jose airport, drawing his biggest crowd of the weekend, approximately 300.
Some of the most exciting races were being waged below the top of the ticket.