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Districts 1 - 26
Districts 27 - 52


Districts 2 - 40

Districts 1 - 20
Districts 21 - 40
Districts 41 - 60
Districts 61 - 80

Democrats: Phil Angelides of Sacramento, Mervin Evans of Culver City, Albert Robles of South Gate. Republicans: Jan Goldsmith of Poway, Curt Pringle of Garden Grove. American Independent: Edmon Kaiser of Fresno. Libertarian: Jon Peterson of San Jose. Natural Law: Carlos Aguirre of Laguna Niguel. Peace and Freedom: Jan Tucker of Toluca Lake.

This seat is fast becoming a launching pad for those seeking higher office. It's also becoming a bivouac for primary mudfests when incumbents step aside. It happened in 1994 when Democratic incumbent Kathleen Brown ran unsuccessfully for governor, opening the door for former state Democratic Party Chairman Phil Angelides and Senate President pro Tempore David Roberti to mix it up in the nastiest statewide primary campaign that year. And now, thanks to Republican Treasurer Matt Fong's bid for the U.S. Senate, the field is open for two termed-out GOP assemblymen - Jan Goldsmith of Poway and Curt Pringle of Garden Grove - to dirty themselves.

Of the two, Pringle is the early front-runner according to a March Field Poll, despite being a late entry into the race. Originally, Pringle planned a run for state controller, until it became apparent incumbent Kathleen Connell was staying put. Pringle's move to this race, in fact, bumped another GOP rival, San Mateo County Supervisor Ruben Barrales, into the much tougher challenge against Connell. Pringle also tried unsuccessfully to get Goldsmith out. But Goldsmith refused to accommodate Pringle - after all, the San Diego assemblyman last year switched his plans for a controller run after the former Assembly speaker indicated interest in the seat.

Pringle has attacked Goldsmith - a moderate pro-choice Republican - for trying to reinvent himself as a conservative in order to appeal to the party's right wing. Pringle also is reminding the party faithful that his opponent broke caucus ranks during the stormy Doris Allen days of 1995 by welcoming the renegade Republican with open arms after Democrats elected her speaker. Goldsmith, meanwhile, is reminding folks of Pringle's infamous "poll guard" incident in 1988 and his involvement in launching the recall of Allen which became scandalized by an effort to place a decoy Democrat on the ballot.

Early in the campaign, Goldsmith enjoyed a huge advantage in endorsements, especially among legislative members. But that was before Pringle switched to treasurer, after which some Goldsmith supporters endorsed Pringle as well and in effect neutralized some of Goldsmith's early work. An important endorsement Pringle did not get, though, was that of the conservative California Republican Assembly, which some expected would go automatically to the Orange County lawmaker. Recently, however, some right-wing elements in the party have soured on Pringle because of his penchant for Capitol deal making and for his support of a pro-choice Republican in a south coast congressional special election. The CRA chose not to endorse anyone in the race - which Goldsmith's camp considered as good as a victory.

Pringle did win the support of the incumbent Fong, in part because of Pringle's ability to raise money; as of the first reporting period, Pringle led Goldsmith $273,000 to $43,000 in money raised. That ability, along with better statewide name recognition, leads some Republicans to believe Pringle is the best chance to defeat Angelides in November.

Raising and spending money is one thing at which Angelides - who faces no serious opposition in his primary - excels. In 1994, Angelides outspent Fong two-to-one. He's also capable of going negative if things get desperate - as evident when he ran a television ad in '94 implying Roberti, a pro-life Democrat, supported the killing of a Florida abortion doctor. Which means the November contest could be another ugly one, whether it's Pringle or Goldsmith facing Angelides.

-- Article by Noel Brinkerhoff

This page first published May 22, 1998

Last updated May 22, 1998

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