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Voter Guide 2000 | U.S. SENATE

Feinstein Has Big Lead in Low-Key Senate Race

November 05, 2000|GREG KRIKORIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Six years after she narrowly won reelection in a race that drew national attention, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces Republican Rep. Tom Campbell in a little-watched contest that she has led from the outset.

Far better known and far better financed than her San Jose opponent, California's senior senator has pushed her case for another term by stressing her legislative record, especially on gun control and the environment. In addition to emphasizing her years in government, Feinstein, 67, has stressed her bipartisanship on matters such as foreign policy.

Campbell, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1992, began this campaign late last year and easily defeated two conservatives in the March primary. But after winning the Republican nomination, the 48-year-old congressman had a difficult time galvanizing his party, which has been pummeled in statewide elections in recent years.

While applauding his fiscal conservatism, the party's conservative wing has been critical of Campbell's socially moderate views; he supports abortion rights and gun control.

But Campbell pushed forward, embracing an iconoclast's agenda with the notion of forming a coalition of Republicans, independents and disaffected Democrats.

From campaign finance reform to revamping the war on drugs by emphasizing treatment rather than prison, Campbell embarked on an issues-driven course. And although that course has been undeniably risky, it might have been the only one he had available, given his lack of money and relative anonymity among voters.

Compared with 1994, when Feinstein's opponent, former Republican Rep. Michael Huffington of Santa Barbara, spent a then-record $30 million, Campbell has raised and spent only about $5 million. Feinstein has raised and spent nearly twice that.

And month after month, polls have shown Feinstein with a double-digit lead over Campbell. Significantly, the most recent Times poll, conducted in mid-October, showed Campbell was unknown to more than half of voters.

Senate Candidates

TOM CAMPBELL

Political affiliation: Republican

Born: Aug. 14, 1952, Chicago

Residence: San Jose

Current position: Congressman

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

Career highlights: Former state senator from the Silicon Valley; Stanford law professor since 1987; as congressman, voted for impeachment of President Clinton and against continued House speakership of Newt Gingrich; pushed for California's open primary

Family: Married 23 years, no children

*

DIANNE FEINSTEIN

Political affiliation: Democrat

Born: June 22, 1933, San Francisco

Residence: San Francisco

Current position: U.S. senator

Education: Bachelor's degree, history, Stanford University

Career highlights: San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 1970-78; San Francisco mayor, 1978-88; Democratic nominee for California governor, 1990; U.S. Senate, 1992-present. Championed ban on assault weapons

Family: Married; one daughter, three stepdaughters, two grandchildren

*

Other Candidates for U.S. Senate

Medea Susan Benjamin, 48, San Francisco

Green Party

Founding director, Global Exchange human rights group

Gail Katherine Lightfoot, 63, Arroyo Grande

Libertarian Party

Retired nurse

Jose Luis "Joe" Camahort, 62, San Jose

Reform Party

Retired engineer/scientist

Brian M. Rees, 46, San Luis Obispo

Natural Law Party

Physician

Diane Beall Templin, 53, Escondido

American Independent Party

Attorney

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Senate Issues

Key areas of contention between Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her Republican rival, Rep. Tom Campbell.

EDUCATION:

CAMPBELL:

Vouchers: Favors experimental plan giving vouchers to poorest 10%.

Federal Role: Would limit federal role, or make federal government pay for mandated programs.

School Safety: Wants harsher sentences for those caught dealing drugs on campus.

Teacher Compensation: Backs performance-based pay.

School Bonds: Would reduce vote needed for passage from two-thirds to 55% majority.

Class Size: Thinks reducing class size is where money should go first.

FEINSTEIN:

Vouchers: Opposes Proposition 38.

Federal Role: Thinks federal role is to inspire reform.

School Safety: Says keeping schools safe from drugs and guns is a priority.

Teacher Compensation: Wants $20,000 pay boost for master teachers.

School Bonds: Also supports 55% standard to raise money for new schools.

Class Size: Wants to keep class and school sizes small.

TAXATION:

CAMPBELL:

Taxes: Would replace federal income tax with 20% national sales tax, exempting food, medical care and housing.

Taxing the Internet: Opposes taxing access to the Internet but favors taxing online sales.

Tax Cuts: Supported GOP's $790-billion tax cut vetoed by President Clinton.

Federal Surplus: Calls surplus illusory; says most of it is Social Security funds. Would not earmark surplus for government programs or big tax cut; would invest it in bonds for airports, roads, etc.

FEINSTEIN:

Taxes: Opposes national sales tax.

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