Under the California Constitution, the lieutenant governor has but one duty as long as the governor is in the state and generally able to function. He casts tie-breaking votes in the state Senate. The last tie came in 1974.
That being the case, the best lieutenant governors have spent a lot of their time out looking for work, none more diligently and successfully than Leo McCarthy during his two terms. The work he finds consists usually of resolving issues that were locked in partisan limbo between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature. We recommend a vote for McCarthy that will keep him at his many jobs.
The dynamics of Sacramento will change after the November election, no matter who becomes governor. What will not change is the need for a standby second-in-command who is temperamentally suited for building coalitions on a wide range of interests, from the environment to economic growth, family concerns, negotiations on water supply and general good works.
Endorsing McCarthy does not require speaking ill of his challenger. In six years as senator for virtually the entire coastline of Orange County, Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) has served with distinction. She has represented her constituents so well that The Times two years ago described her as one of the three best senators in Southern California.