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POLITICAL NOTES : Dills Links Opponent to Radical Right; Cohen Scoffs at the Connection

October 20, 1994|TED JOHNSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MODERATE OR CONSERVATIVE?: According to state Sen. Ralph C. Dills(D-El Segundo), the radical right is alive and well in the South Bay, and they are chipping in to opponent David Barrett Cohen's campaign.

Dills officials made the charge last week because of a $20,000 contribution from the campaign of state Sen. Rob Hurtt (R-Garden Grove) to Cohen, a Redondo Beach attorney. Hurtt is a conservative, evangelical Christian who is a leader in the party's efforts to reclaim the Senate and Assembly.

Cohen "is trying to portray himself as a moderate Republican," said Tim Mock, Dills' campaign coordinator. "He has positions on issues that are very favorable (to the political right)." Among them: Cohen supported last year's failed school voucher initiative, a conservative goal.

But Cohen said that Hurtt has a leadership post that makes it necessary to give to conservatives and moderates alike.

"It's his job to give money to strong Republican candidates, be they moderate or conservative," Cohen said. "Anyone who claims Rob Hurtt and I are not different is a liar."

Among other things, Cohen favors abortion rights and opposes Proposition 187, which would deny services to illegal immigrants.

"According to (the Dills campaign), I must be the world's only Christian fundamentalist who's Jewish," Cohen said.

Democrats hold a 53%-to-33% edge in voter registration in the 28th State Senate District, which includes the beach cities, Torrance, Carson and Compton.

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PHOTO REDUX: Republican Susan Brooks' campaign has changed its caption on an infamous photo of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Rolling Hills), beaming at President Clinton at a White House ceremony. Brooks is challenging Harman for the 36th Congressional District seat.

Two weeks ago, Harman chided Brooks, a Palos Verdes councilwoman, for saying the photo was taken at the signing of President Clinton's budget plan, which included taxes and spending cuts. Harman voted for it. But the photo was taken at another White House ceremony, where Clinton issued an executive order on deficit reduction.

The new caption reads: "Having cast the decisive vote, Jane Harman beams with approval at Bill Clinton who signed the largest tax increase in history."

Of course, many Republican challengers across the country say their opponents cast the decisive vote. It passed by a 218-216 margin in August, 1993.

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GATT SPAT: United We Stand America opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement and now they oppose the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. So it's no surprise that when it sponsored a recent forum, the group grilled the congressional candidates on the trade pacts.

But they might have a tough time choosing between Harman and Brooks. Harman opposed NAFTA but supports GATT. With Brooks, it's vice versa.

Brooks said GATT would remove the United States' sovereignty. "I am not about to let us become one of 120 nations and stand the United States of America next to Rwanda as one vote." But Harman's camp said that she is convinced there's enough protection in the pact. "It requires consensus and therefore the U.S. can veto," said Harman spokesman Roy Behr.

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QUARTERBACKING FOR BROOKS: Former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp stumped for Brooks' campaign--one of dozens of candidates he has visited this election cycle.

But he called Brooks' chances against Harman "very favorable."

"She's a fighter, she's a tiger, she's a quarterback," Kemp said at a local fund-raiser.

"She was for NAFTA, Jane was against NAFTA," he said. ". . . How can you believe in free enterprise in California and not be for exporting computers and agriculture and widgets to Mexico. It just doesn't make sense. Jane Harman voting against NAFTA is a vote against the working man and woman of the South Bay district."

Yet they didn't agree on everything. Kemp supports GATT.

"Unity does not require unanimity," he said.

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