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Decision '92 : SPECIAL VOTERS' GUIDE TO STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS : THE ASSEMBLY RACES : GOP Challenges Incumbents in the 76th and 78th Districts

October 25, 1992

Dick Daleke calls himself the "family values" candidate. With seven children from his first marriage and seven from his second, the 60-year-old Navy veteran might be granted that point.

But his opponent, freshman Assemblyman Mike Gotch, isn't willing to concede much else in the race for the 76th Assembly District, one targeted by conservative causes as key to winning a majority in the Assembly. The district has a GOP registration edge of 1%.

With eight years on the San Diego City Council and two years in the Assembly, Democrat Gotch has won the support of women's organizations, police and firefighters unions, teachers and state employees. He supports abortion rights and gun control. He wants library, housing and school bond measures as a way to create jobs. He supports the rebuilding of public schools.

Gotch is quick to tie Daleke to the Christian right movement, saying that nearly half of Daleke's $189,000 in campaign contributions have come from two ultra-conservative groups.

"Despite his best efforts to disassociate himself from these groups and appear mainstream, the fact is that most of his contributions and support have come from groups that preach that kind of far-right gospel," Gotch says.

For his part, Daleke thinks Gotch is trying to create a connection that does not exist.

"I am pro-life and I have received support from Christian business political action committees, and because of that, I'm some sort of religious bigot," Daleke said. "I'm not a fundamentalist. I'm a Catholic."

Gotch is trying to divert attention from his own record, which espouses big government and socialism, Daleke says. Like many Republicans who use the state Chamber of Commerce "report card" to show how legislators vote on business issues, Daleke says Gotch voted against business 15 of 17 times in 1991.

"I see Mike Gotch as being a team player for Willie Brown, and in playing Willie Brown's games, Mike is not always doing the best he can for his district," Daleke says.

Daleke supports a private-public health care system, a reduction in welfare benefits and a school voucher system. He opposes gun control and abortion rights.

Libertarian Pat Wright and Peace & Freedom candidate Forest H. Worten are also running in the 76th District.

In the 78th Assembly District, incumbent Dede Alpert (D-Coronado) faces a challenge from former Assemblyman Jeff Marston, a Republican. Sally Sherry O'Brien, a Peace & Freedom candidate, is also running.

The district has a 44% to 38% GOP edge.

Alpert and Marston differ on little. Both agree that getting new businesses into California is a No. 1 priority and would do what they can to reduce bureaucracy and taxes hampering new industry. Both support abortion rights but Marston is in favor of parental notification for minors.

Marston, a public relations executive, supports the death penalty. Alpert, a former Solana Beach school board member, opposes it.

"Dede Alpert went to Sacramento to solve the problem but instead, she has become part of the problem," Marston said. He has been especially critical of Alpert's votes to raise taxes, including the state sales tax last year.

Alpert said she deserves another two years in the state capital, pointing to bills that became law and toughened training standards for child-care workers and protected community medical clinics from being sued.

ASSEMBLY / 76th District Mike Gotch

Age: 45

Birthplace: San Francisco

Occupation: Assemblyman

Democrat Dick Daleke

Age: 62

Birthplace: Milwaukee

Occupation: Business consultant

Republican Pat Wright

Age: 34

Birthplace: San Diego

Occupation: Publishing assistant

Libertarian Forest H. Worten

Age: 46

Birthplace: Kansas City, Kan.

Occupation: Businessman

Peace & Freedom

ASSEMBLY / 78th District Dede Alpert

Age: 47

Birthplace: New York City

Occupation: State Assemblywoman

Democrat Jeff Marston

Age: 37

Birthplace: New York City

Occupation: Public relations

Republican Sally Sherry O'Brien

Age: 75

Birthplace: Alamogordo, N.M.

Occupation: Minister/counselor

Peace & Freedom

Times staff writer Mark Platte wrote these summaries of the Assembly and state Senate races

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