Former U.S. Treasurer Angela M. (Bay) Buchanan of Irvine will seek the GOP nomination for California treasurer next year, according to a source close to her, setting the stage for a costly and divisive confrontation that the Republican Party had hoped to avoid.
The current treasurer, Thomas Hayes, was appointed to the post last year by GOP Gov. George Deukmejian, who has hopes that Hayes will be a Republican star of the future.
But Buchanan has hired Washington consultant Roger Stone and Houston pollster Lance Tarrance, both of whom have strong track records in national Republican politics, and will announce her candidacy in about 2 weeks, according to a friend, who requested anonymity.
Reached Wednesday, Buchanan said: "I will have an announcement soon, but for now let's just say I have received enormous encouragement both in California and in Washington."
Buchanan, 40, was appointed U.S. treasurer in 1981 by then-President Ronald Reagan and served until 1983. In 1986, she managed the U.S. Senate campaign of Los Angeles TV commentator Bruce Herschensohn, who finished second in the GOP primary. Since then, she has worked out of an office in Huntington Beach, raising money for conservative causes.
Like Herschensohn, Buchanan is a staunch conservative. Her brother, Washington commentator and former Reagan adviser Patrick Buchanan, often regales friends with stories about the conservative indoctrination he and his sister got when they were growing up in Washington.
Their father, an accountant, led dinner-table discussions of conservative philosophy, and the family was active in the movement that nominated former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater for President in 1964. Bay and Patrick Buchanan were active for Reagan starting in the 1970s.
Bay Buchanan's decision to seek the GOP nomination for treasurer next year was strongly opposed by those close to Deukmejian, according to Republican sources. They fear that even if Hayes survives Buchanan's challenge, he will be vulnerable in November.
The battle for treasurer will come at a time when the Republicans are trying to win some constitutional offices--the Democrats control everything but governor and treasurer--and develop some new talent in the party.
Buchanan and some other Republicans were unhappy with the Hayes appointment because he became a Republican only after his confirmation. He says he believes that it was proper to decline to state a party preference in his previous job, that of state auditor general, because he had to monitor programs put forth by Democrats and Republicans.
A source close to Buchanan said she expects to spend $1.5 million in the battle against Hayes. Some Republicans speculate that she will raise much of it from conservatives based in the Washington area.
Kathleen Brown, a Los Angeles Board of Public Works member and daughter of former Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown Sr., has said she will seek the Democratic nomination for treasurer.