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CAMPAIGN TALK : A window on the California elections.

July 27, 1990


New turn: If Dianne Feinstein's primary victory left any doubt that state Democrats are turning away from traditional liberalism, there is reinforcement with the announcement that the Democratic Leadership Council is setting up shop in Southern California. The DLC--founded in 1985 to espouse more moderate views than party leaders were taking at the time--will be led by John Emerson, chief deputy city attorney of Los Angeles under James K. Hahn, and Los Angeles attorney Cynthia McClain-Hill. The national group already has established several state chapters, and its entrance into Southern California reflects the importance DLC leaders place on contacts and money in this politically lucrative area.

DLC members--including Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, Virginia Sen. Charles Robb and that state's governor, L. Douglas Wilder--have adopted the title "mainstream Democrat" to keep themselves separated from those other Democrats, whom Republicans regularly lambaste as too liberal for the electorate. The DLC's move into the area provides a well-placed launching pad for some of its senior members, such as Nunn, who are believed to be courting a 1992 presidential bid. But Emerson insists that the group, still in the embryonic stages, will provide a forum for those of any political bent. "Absolutely no way will it be confined to people active in the DLC," he said.

Lawyerly sparring: Some politicians duck debates like boxers duck punches. But state attorney general candidate Dan Lungren can't seem to get enough. Earlier this year, Debating Dan, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination, demanded an unprecedented series of Lincoln-Douglas-style encounters with both Democratic contenders before the June primary. When Arlo Smith took him up on the offer, they held several forums across the state. More recently, Lungren has pressed for a series of summer debates, showing up at a Democratic-ticket press conference last weekend in San Diego to corner Smith, who had been slow to respond. After receiving a letter from Lungren asking, "What are you afraid of, Arlo?" Smith announced this week he would agree to three debates--but with one catch. They would involve specific topics that the Democrat is seeking to stress: abortion, environment and qualifications for the attorney general's job.


Official voter turnout results released this week for the June 5 primary election show that electors in the state's smaller counties voted in greater numbers than their fellow citizens in the larger counties. Counties with the highest voter turnout

COUNTY REGISTERED VOTERS BALLOTS CAST %TURNOUT Alpine 677 489 72.2% Sierra 2,179 1,559 71.5% Maripsoa 8,771 5,874 67.0% Glenn 10,289 6,885 66.9% Modoc 5,425 3,627 66.9%

Counties with the greatest number of voters

COUNTY REGISTERED VOTERS BALLOTS CAST %TURNOUT Los Angeles 3,402,509 1,283,079 37.7% San Diego 1,145,927 451,770 39.4% Orange 1,074,364 428,750 39.9% Santa Clara 695,369 285,699 41.1% Alameda 629,230 265,980 42.3%

Source: California Secretary of State

Compiled by Times editorial researcher Michael Meyers


From columnist Jim Trotter in the Sacramento Bee, commenting on lawmakers' inability to pass a state budget:

" We have a Legislature that doesn't have a gut in its body. . . . If getting reelected required some notable act of political courage, we would never hear of many of these people again. "

From Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston, addressing the AFL-CIO state convention:

"It's unfortunate that California has given the nation three Republican presidents--Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. I say we can do better, maybe as soon as 1992, maybe Dianne Feinstein. But first we've got to elect her governor."

From Alan Heslop, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, commenting to the Associated Press about voter apathy and the size of legislative districts:

"It is hard to convince oneself that one vote is going to make a difference in these enormous, giant districts." EXIT LINE

"My political hero is Lincoln. Hers must be Garbo."

--Republican Pete Wilson, grumbling about the low profile of his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Dianne Feinstein

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