As state election officials forecast a record low voter turnout, the self-described "un-candidate" for governor, state Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica), said Friday that he now has a fighting chance to win the Democratic nomination over Kathleen Brown and John Garamendi in Tuesday's primary election.
No experts could be found to readily agree with Hayden, however, and state Treasurer Brown continued to campaign Friday as the self-assumed nominee by hammering away at Republican Gov. Pete Wilson on the California economy and jobs.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday June 5, 1994 Home Edition Part A Page 3 Column 6 Metro Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
Campaign rally--A photo caption in Saturday's editions misidentified the man introducing gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Brown at a rally at Praises of Zion Baptist Church. He is Bishop E. Lynn Brown.
Brown's aides have described the primary campaign as a "dry run" for the general election against Wilson, who was leading in the polls over his one surprise challenger, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron Unz.
Garamendi, the state insurance commissioner, stuck to his theme of crime and the death penalty, visiting the site in Manhattan Beach where a police officer was shot and killed last December. His campaign manager said he remained hopeful of a victory on Tuesday.
Just how the votes break out will depend on how many of California's 14.2 million registered voters actually go to the polls and what motivates them to cast their ballots the way they do.
Acting Secretary of State Tony Miller on Friday issued a gloomy official forecast of the turnout: 39.8%, the lowest since the state began keeping records in 1916, a full 16 points below the average. Miller said he based the forecast on information supplied by county election officials, historic data, the slow pace of voter registration this year and a perception of "widespread indifference to the primary this year."
"Contrary to reality, people just don't seem to think it matters who is elected, or how a ballot measure might impact their lives," said Miller, who is a candidate for the secretary of state post, vacant since Democrat March Fong Eu resigned earlier this year to become U.S. ambassador to Micronesia.
Hayden, the onetime student radical leader, said he has a shot at overcoming Brown and Garamendi if he can win away 5% of each candidate's current support and pull half the undecided vote. Hayden said such movement would depend on Democrats being disillusioned by the Brown and Garamendi campaign efforts.
"The two other candidates are now engaged in a death lock of discussion about the death penalty, which can only be disappointing to most Democrats," Hayden said as he unveiled a second 13-minute campaign commercial. Most political advertising runs 30 seconds.
The new Hayden ad, to be shown on both cable outlets and regular broadcast television stations, consists primarily of his analysis of the three debates conducted by Brown, Garamendi and Hayden--debates in which Hayden's performance won high marks.
The film opens with a sport-shirted Hayden speaking casually from a chair in his living room, saying that his campaign for reform of the election and lobbying processes already has been a success, but will have even more impact the more votes he gets.
He uses the debates to portray Brown and Garamendi as elaborately packaged candidates, programmed to give a narrow message that reinforces their own campaign themes.
"I like Kathleen Brown . . . (but) I feel that something has happened in the last year that she's being squeezed in some kind of vice of management and is losing or is in danger of losing her own voice and her own sensitivity," Hayden said.
Of Garamendi, he said, "John, I think, has approached the campaign as a battle. . . . He's so frustrated at what he perceives as Kathleen's indifference. . . . I felt he was all negative and was prepared to be negative, so you had merchandised negativity."
On Friday, Brown took her bus tour to South Los Angeles, where she won the endorsement of the Rev. Joseph Hardwick of Praises of Zion Baptist Church. This week's tour has focused on areas and people who have been affected by the recession and Brown noted that Los Angeles County has lost more than 413,000 jobs since Wilson took office in January 1991.
Hardwick praised Brown by saying, "She will work to make sure that no one is left behind on the road to economic recovery."
But there was some good news on the job front Friday for the target of Brown's jobs rhetoric: Wilson. The state's unemployment rate, which had shot up to 9.6% in April, fell 1.3 points during May, state officials announced.
While Wilson acknowledged that unemployment figures have been volatile, he said, "This improvement yet again demonstrates that our economy is moving in the right direction. So I will keep cutting job-killing red tape and enacting business incentives to bring new jobs to California."
Wilson said that the number of jobs in California in May was 14.2 million, an increase of 159,000 over the April level.
In Manhattan Beach, Garamendi joined police supporters in a parking lot where police Officer Martin Ganz was slain last December.
"We must put an end to these and other coldblooded killings that are terrorizing our communities today. We must win this urban war," he said.
Garamendi has proposed to save $5.5 billion a year through reform of California's insurance structure and to use part of that money to put more police on the streets.