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VOTERS' CAMPAIGN 2000 GUIDE | The U.S. Senate / The
Incumbent, the Key Challengers and Where They Stand
: KEY RACE: STATEWIDE U.S. SENATE

Three Republicans Fight for Chance to Unseat Feinstein

March 05, 2000|AMY PYLE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three Republicans are battling for the chance to spar with incumbent U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in November, although polls show that so far none threatens to topple her.

The front-runner among them--Rep. Tom Campbell (R-San Jose)--is a moderate vying for the same middle-of-the-road voters who have consistently supported Feinstein. Some observers have suggested that the Stanford University law professor is mostly seeking statewide exposure that could help him in a run for the seat held by the state's more liberal senator, Democrat Barbara Boxer, in 2004.

And there's always the rumored but remote possibility that Feinstein, 66, would be chosen by Vice President Al Gore as his running mate, should he win the Democratic nomination for president.

While Campbell, 47, says such an unlikely occurrence would be "a gift from heaven," he tells audiences that if he can increase his name recognition, he will be a formidable foe for Feinstein in November.

Republicans running against Campbell in March are state Sen. Ray Haynes of Riverside, an attorney, and San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn, 57, an avocado rancher and ex-Marine. The two conservatives are competing for right-wing voters and, they say, for the soul of California's Republican Party.

Haynes, 45, has turned to the Internet to campaign and in one recent e-mail missive to supporters wrote: "The primary is a true battle for the direction of our party. The question before us is whether we become like Democrats, as Tom Campbell would have us do, or . . . supply voters with a real choice in November."

Haynes and Horn have sought to portray Campbell as indistinguishable from Feinstein and even more liberal in some ways, including his support for a sales tax on Internet purchases and creating pilot programs to distribute illegal drugs to addicts. Feinstein supports neither.

Haynes and Horn point out that the American Civil Liberties Union has given Campbell higher ratings than Feinstein on social and civil liberties matters. Campbell supports abortion rights and some gun controls. Haynes and Horn oppose both. About the only view the three share is the Libertarian mantra of less government.

So far, Feinstein's low-key campaign has consisted of two "constituents" events, a couple of news conferences and a television advertisement, although on Friday she will hold a gala fund-raiser with President Clinton in San Francisco.

Gun control has become a cornerstone of Feinstein's campaign, and she is most impassioned when speaking about recent school shootings.

"That's what mobilized me: the trickle-down of guns to children," she said.

She also has talked of increasing teachers' salaries to match those of school administrators--a rise of up to 60% in some cases--to stop the outflow of good teachers into school management and other professions.

Except for his appearances at Republican debates, Campbell has spent most of the primary campaign running toward November and a matchup with Feinstein instead of against Horn and Haynes. Mindful of California's tendency toward moderation, Campbell has emphasized his departures from the Republican Party line: Although he voted to impeach Clinton, he also voted against Newt Gingrich's attempt to retain his speakership.

He has emphasized his fiscal conservatism, including top rankings by taxpayers' watchdog groups. Campbell has sworn off contributions from political action committee for this race and challenged Feinstein to do the same, but she has said she sees no need to do that. Campbell has taken political action committee money in previous races.

Campaign finance reports bear out what the polls suggest: a November contest between Feinstein and Campbell. At the most recent filing deadline, Campbell had collected slightly more than the incumbent--$428,000 compared with her $412,000--although she had more cash on hand. Haynes and Horn had raised far less, although Horn--a multimillionaire--has loaned his campaign $300,000.

Both have launched television advertisements, the only two in the race to do so. Campbell's introduces him and his Web site to viewers; Feinstein's emphasizes her record and plans on crime prevention, health care and education.

Tom Campbell

Congressman and former state senator from Silicon Valley. Also Stanford law professor since 1987.

* Age 47

* Residence San Jose

* Education Law degree, Harvard, 1976. PhD in economics, University of Chicago, 1980

* Career highlights Voted for impeachment of President Clinton and against continued House speakership of Newt Gingrich. Pushed for California's open primary.

* Interests Travel, "poorly made" movies, chocolate.

* Family Married for 23 years. No children.

* Quote "I am in the profession of politics because I feel it is a field where my background, interests and personal commitment can all come together to do something positive for the betterment of my country."

Bill Horn

Horn was reelected for a second term on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1998.

* Age 57

* Residence Valley Center

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