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University of Utah

Western Political Science Association


TIe 1966 EIeclion in CaIiJovnia
AulIov|s) Tollon J. Andevson and Eugene C. Lee
Bevieved vovI|s)
Souvce TIe Weslevn FoIilicaI QuavlevI, VoI. 20, No. 2, Favl 2 |Jun., 1967), pp. 535-554
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THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
TOTTON
J. ANDERSON, University of
Southern
California
and
EUGENE C.
LEE,
University of California, Berkeley
IN
AN ELECTION which
brought
about the consolidation of the
normally
con-
servative forces in both
major parties,
motion
picture
actor Ronald
Reagan
led
the
Republicans
to
victory
over Edmund G. "Pat"
Brown, seeking
his third
successive
gubernatorial
term of office.' Close to
"sweep proportions,"
the dimension
of the
Republicans'
success was indeed
impressive, encompassing
the
following:
five
of the six
partisan,
statewide offices
(all
but the
attorney-generalship)
; 5 new Senate
seats, narrowing
Democratic control 21 to
19;
7 additional
Assembly
seats
cutting
the
opposition majority
42 to
38;
and a
whittling
of the Democratic
ascendency
in
the
congressional delegation
from 23-15 to 20-18.
(The
results are summarized in
Table
1.)
Further
indicating
the extent of the G.O.P.
victory
was the fact that in
each of the three
legislative
arenas
-
Congress,
state
Senate, Assembly
- the com-
bined
Republican
vote was
greater
than the
Democratic,
a feat not
accomplished
since 1952.2
Of
equal
or
perhaps
more
lasting
historical
significance
was the
impact
of the
1965
reapportionment
of
legislative
districts under the
Supreme
Court
ruling
of "one
man,
one vote." For the first time since
becoming
a state the balance of
political
power
in the California
legislature
has been relocated from northern to southern
California. The
eight
southern counties from Santa Barbara to San
Diego
now
control more Senate and
Assembly
seats than the
fifty remaining
counties in the state.
Moreover,
four of the six
partisan
statewide elected officers are from the southland:
1NOTE: For the last two
gubernatorial
elections see: Totton
J. Anderson,
"The 1958 Election
in
California,"
Western Political
Quarterly,
12
(March 1959), 276-300;
and Totton
J.
Anderson and
Eugene
C.
Lee,
"The 1962 Election in
California," ibid.,
16
(June 1963),
396-420.
2
California
party balance,
1948-1966 -Democratic
percentage
of
two-party registration
and
vote for
major
offices:
VOTE FOR
Year
Registration
President Governor U.S. Senate
Congress* Assembly*
1948 ................. 60.2
52.6t
46.6 40.2
1950 .................. 61.2 35.1 40.8 45.8 43.0
1952
............-
.. 57.3
43.1 $
46.0 32.4
1954 .................. 57.4 43.2 46.1 51.5 49.0
1956 .................. 57.4 44.4 45.8 52.4 53.4
1958 .................. 59.2 59.8 57.1 60.0 58.9
1960 .................. 59.5 49.7 53.9 54.0
1962 .............. 58.8 52.6 43.5 51.8 53.9
1964 .................. 59.8 59.2 48.5 52.9 53.6
1966 .................. 58.5 42.3 46.8 46.3
*
These
figures
are based on the total of Democratic
plus Republican candidates' votes. In the earlier
years,
when a
large proportion
of
legislators
took their seats without a
contest,
the congressional and
assembly
totals are not as
meaningful,
since
they
include
many
voters who ratified the election of successful
cross-filers, mostly Republican
incumbents.
t Truman
plus
Wallace.
: Knowland won by cross-filing.
535
THE WESTERN POLITICAL QUARTERLY
the
governor,
lieutenant
governor, controller,
and treasurer. Election of the Senate
on a
popular
vote basis has
given
Los
Angeles
fourteen and one-third
senators,
whereas the
county
had
previously
been
represented by
a
single
individual.
This shift of the center of
political gravity
to southern California confirms the
transposition
of
popular voting strength
in the
region
into
political reality. During
the
twenty-two years
since World War
II,
the
population
of the state has increased
130
per cent,
from 8.3 million to 19.3
million,
the
preponderant portion
of this incre-
ment
settling
in the
eight
counties of the southland. Since most of the historic issues
which have divided the state
geographically
have been
resolved,
the evaluation of the
full
significance
of this
change
must await future
developments.
A summation of the causes for the
Republican
success must account for a
change
in the
temper
of an electorate which
firmly
endorsed Democratic
incumbency
and the status
quo
in 1962. The
key
to the fact that the
public
was
deeply
disturbed
and
contemplating
the
possibility
of a
change
was the size of the "undecided" vote
which
may
have
ultimately
determined the outcome of the election. The resolution
of indecision for the
Republican
who had abandoned his
party
after the Goldwater
debacle of 1964 was to return to the fold when the Democrats failed in their
attempt
to
stigmatize Reagan
as a
prototype
of
John
Birch conservatism. The troubled
Democrat,
on the other
hand,
switched his vote after a fratricidal
primary fight
between Brown and
Mayor
Samuel
Yorty
of Los
Angeles
had
proven
the Governor
to be
politically
vulnerable. An
ineptly managed campaign
was further marred
by
internal dissension
resulting
from the
rivalry
for control of the
party
between
TABLE 1
SUMMARY OF
RESULTS,
CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS
-
NOVEMBER
8,
1966
Democratic Total
Per Cent
of (Includes
Democratic
Republican Two-Party Others)
Registered
voters ............................... 4,720,597 3,350,990
58.5
8,340,868
Total vote cast ....................................
3,629,153* 2,808,304*
56.4
6,605,866
Per cent of
registered
voters........ 76.9 83.8 79.2
Governor vote....................................
2,749,174 3,742,913
42.3
6,503,445
Per cent of total vote cast .......... 98.4
Congress
Total vote ................................. 2,937,862 3,336,943
46.8
6,278,601
Per cent of total vote cast ........ 95.0
Seats won ... ........................ 20 18
Change
from 1966 ................... -3 +3
Assembly
Total vote ................................
2,835,177 3,294,210
46.3
6,131,813
Per cent of total vote cast........ 92.8
Seats won .....4....................... 42 38
Change
from 1966 ..................... -7 +7
State
Senatet
Total vote ..................................
2,996,234 3,174,658
48.6
6,184,098
Per cent of total vote cast ...... 93.6
Seats won ................................. 21 19
Change
from 1966 ...................... -5 +5
*
Based on the
January
1967
registration,
which
closely approximates
the actual vote cast in November.
t
In both Alameda and San Francisco
counties,
two
county-wide
senatorial races were held in 1966. The
average
vote for these elections has been used in these calculations.
536
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
Brown's
supporters
and those of
Assembly Speaker Jesse
Unruh. These surface
manifestations of the
party change-over
are
readily ascertainable,
but two
imponder-
able issues
certainly lay
close to the root-cause of the action: the race
problem
accentuated
by
riots in Los
Angeles
and San Francisco
along
with the invalida-
tion of the Rumford Act
mandating
the sale of real
property
to white or
Negro
alike,
and the war in Viet
Nam,
signalizing
the
unpopularity
of the
Johnson
Administration.
THE PRIMARY ELECTION
Several
aspects
of the 1966
primary
were
unique.
For the first time in
many
years
the
Republicans
outnumbered Democrats
among
the new
registrants.
The total
registration
of
7,855,102
was the
largest
in
history, although
the
partisan
ratio
remained constant at 3:2 Democratic
(4,485,777
or 57.1
per
cent Democrats to
3,125,884
or 39.8
per
cent
Republicans).
The turnout of
5,079,911
or 64.7
per
cent
was the
highest
ever recorded for a
gubernatorial primary.
When the Democrats
swept
into office in 1958 the
figures
were
4,125,124
or 65.7
per
cent. As in the
past,
Republicans substantially
outdistanced Democrats in
registered primary participa-
tion,
71 to 61
per
cent.3
For the first time in
history
a
high-speed
IBM 1440
computer
added votes for
the
largest
field of candidates in
any partisan
election: 788.
Twenty
of the
fifty-
eight
counties used either
fully
or
partially
automated
voting
or vote
counting sys-
tems. Another historic
first,
in modern times at
least,
was the contention for 168
of the 170 state and federal
partisan
offices
(neither
U.S. Senate seat was at
stake).
The Democratic
Primary Campaign
The
June
8
primary
wherein Brown could muster
only 140,128
votes more than
the combined
opposition
of his five Democratic
opponents, dramatically
revealed
the fissures which had
developed
within the
party
since the
great triumph
of 1958.
The
apparatus
of the
party
had
gone
untended
during
the last
gubernatorial
term:
the California Democratic Council had been both alienated and
politically
ener-
vated; quarreling
within the
party hierarchy
had
compromised
the effectiveness of
its
leadership;
and a
renegade
Democratic
mayor
of Los
Angeles
was
permitted
to
strike a lethal blow at an incumbent
governor.
The Messiah-like fervor which activated the
40,000
members of the CDC to
pre-primary
endorsements and
registration
and
get-out-the-vote
drives for Adlai
Stevenson had
long
been
dissipated. By
November 1965 the
organization
was in
debt;
the Board of Directors failed in a 29 to 18 vote to
impeach
its
president
Simon
Casady
on a no-confidence
vote,
and he
finally resigned
the
following February
on a
censure vote of
1,001
to 859 taken in the state convention. Brown won an endorse-
ment of 874 votes to
280,
but faced both a
heckling
and a walkout
by
200
delegates
in the
process.
3 The decline to
state, 205,830
or 2.6
per cent,
and
miscellaneous, 37,611
or 0.5
per
cent. The
registration figure topped
all but that for the 1964
general
election of
8,184,143.
In 1966
the
Republicans gained 225,516 registrants
or 7.8
per cent,
while the Democrats increased
only 207,012
or 4.8
per
cent. Los
Angeles County registered 1,722,827
Democrats and
1,150,728 Republicans
for the
primary.
537
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
The
struggle
between Brown and
Speaker
Unruh for influence within the
party
was reflected in the
organization
down to the
precinct level,
and Unruh refused to
commit himself
openly
in the
Brown-Yorty primary. Mayor Yorty
had served
briefly
in the state
Assembly
and the
Congress,
and had twice been defeated
(1954
and
1956)
in an effort to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. In
1964,
he contested the "official" Brown-led
delegation
to the Democratic national conven-
tion and received
nearly
one-third of the votes. In 1960 he alienated
party regulars
by supporting
Richard
Nixon,
but enhanced his
support among
conservatives
by
defeating Representative James
Roosevelt for
mayor
to win a second term in 1965.
The
Brown-Yorty campaign
was
personal
and vindictive: the
mayor strongly
inferring
that Brown was
supported by
Communists and lacked
understanding
of
urban
affairs,
while the
governor
retaliated
by calling Yorty
a
right-wing "fright
peddler"
and
implying
that he had made a mess of
city government.
Whereas Brown
stumped
the
state, attacking Reagan
and
Christopher, Yorty allegedly
made no over-
night trips, remaining
in the
city
and
relying heavily upon
television to reach the
voters. The
Yorty showing
in the Democratic
primary
was
impressive:
he
polled
981,088
votes
compared
to
1,355,262
for
Brown;
lost Los
Angeles County by only
95,748 votes;
won conservative
Orange County away
from Brown
by 57,176
votes
to
47,564;
was
particularly
effective in the Central
Valley, actually winning
Kern
County; and, significantly,
showed
strength
in several San Francisco
Bay
Area
counties. His
candidacy proved
that anti-Brown sentiment was both statewide and
preponderately
conservative. It also
gave
the
mayor
an
embryonic organization
to
support
a
possible
third
attempt
to run for the U.S. Senate in 1968.4
The
Republican Primary Campaign
Faced with a
major
task of
re-grouping
its forces after the disaster of the bitter
presidential primary
of 1964 which
split
the
party virtually
in half
(Goldwater
1,120,403
and Rockefeller
1,052,053),
and the
subsequent
loss of the state to
Lyndon
Johnson,
the
Republican hierarchy performed
a minor
political
miracle. State chair-
man
Gaylord
G.
Parkinson,
an obstetrician
by profession,
acted as mediator between
the
warring
factions. The
party organization
was reinforced on both state and
county
levels with
experts
in
administration, finance,
research
organizational techniques,
and candidate
sponsorship.
The cohesion essential to
victory
was achieved for several reasons. Two succes-
sive
gubernatorial
defeats created a
strong psychological
incentive to unite. The
Goldwater conservatives were
completely
discredited in the loss of the state to
Lyndon
Johnson,
while the moderates achieved
signal
success in
electing
U.S. Senator
George Murphy
over Pierre
Salinger.
Parkinson worked
unceasingly
to
implement
4
The four other Democratic and one
Republican
incumbents for statewide
partisan
office led
their
principal opponents
with comfortable
margins:
Lieutenant Governor Glenn M.
Anderson
(D) 1,308,735
led Robert H. Finch
(R) 1,211,540
in a field of seven candi-
dates; Secretary
of State Frank M.
Jordan (R) 1,626,646
led Norbert A. Schlei
(D)
780,709
in a field of
nine;
Controller Alan Cranston
(D) 1,866,771
led Houston I.
Flournoy
(R) 634,145
in a field of
eight;
Treasurer Bert A. Betts
(D) 1,959,111 led
Ivy
Baker Priest
(R) 1,777,337
and Attorney
General Thomas C.
Lynch (D)
led
Spencer
William
(R) 972,674
in a field of six. In the
general election,
the named
Republicans
won
all of these offices with the
exception
of that of
attorney general.
Incumbent
Superin-
tendent of Public Instruction Max
Rafferty (R)
won this
nonpartisan
office
by 2,925,401
over his closest
competitor,
Willard
Harper.
538
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
his eleventh
commandment,
"Thou shall not
speak
ill of
any Republican."
Con-
siderable attention was
paid
to the
party auxiliaries,
all of which had been
captured
by
Goldwater forces.
Finally,
in a move reminiscent of the
drafting
of Eisenhower
in
1952,
the
party
recruited an
attractive,
conservative candidate with
virtually
no
political experience
and
placed
him under the skilled
management
of one of the
most successful
political public
relations firms in the
nation,
which created an
image
of a
political
moderate
acceptable
to all. Ronald
Reagan
had held no
political
office,
was a former
president
of the Screen Actor's
Guild,
a
registered
Democrat until
1962,
and state co-chairman for the California Committee for Goldwater-Miller
in 1964.
Contesting
the
gubernatorial primary
was a former
mayor
of San
Francisco,
George Christopher,
successful businessman and moderate
Republican.
Unsuccess-
ful as a
primary
candidate for U.S. senator in
1958,
he became the
party
nominee for
lieutenant
governor
in
1962,
but lost to the Democratic incumbent. He served as
northern California
campaign manager
for Rockefeller in 1964.
Christopher empha-
sized his moderate
Republicanism
and attacked both
Reagan's
conservatism and
Brown's
alleged ineptness.
In
effect,
he tried to
capture
the moderate
Republican
vote while
trading
the conservative
Republicans
for conservative Democrats. For
his
part, Reagan
either rationalized or
ignored
his
public pronouncements during
the Goldwater
campaign.
He
attempted
to
appeal
to all
Republicans
while
winning
away
at least 25
per
cent of the Brown dissidents. Thus his main
campaign
was
waged against Brown;
he denied that Birchism was an issue and
sought
to make a
virtue of his
alleged "inexperience"
in
government
service,
by classing
himself as a
"citizen
politician."
A central issue of the
primary
in the minds of the
Republican
voters was the
question
of which candidate could defeat Brown.
According
to the State
Poll,
Rea-
gan's
lead over
Christopher began
with a substantial
margin
of 17
per
cent in
September 1965,
but dwindled
steadily
to 13
per
cent in
January 1966,
to 9 in March
and to
only
6 on
May
1. On
May
3 the
poll
showed that
Christopher
would have
beaten Brown
by
a
greater margin
than
Reagan (50
versus 46
per cent).
Christo-
pher's strength represented
30
per
cent of the Democratic vote and
Reagan's only
23
per
cent.
Within ten
days, syndicated
columnist Drew Pearson
printed
information about
supposed
altercations that
Christopher
had had with
government
authorities
regard-
ing
his
dairy
business in Marin
County
more than 26
years ago. Among
the
charges
was a misdemeanor conviction. These disclosures contributed to the reversal of the
trend of
Christopher's steady
advance in the
polls, giving Reagan
a comfortable
17
per
cent lead
days
before the election.
Christopher initially charged
the
Reagan
organization
with
trying
to
"destroy"
him. Later he
alleged
that the Democratic
hierarchy
had
conspired
to release the
politically damaging
information to Pearson
after
having
reached the decision that
Reagan
would be the easier candidate to
defeat.
Christopher
and Pearson
exchanged
law suits in the millions of dollars.
Pre-primary polls
indicated that about one-half of the state's G.O.P.
registrants
classed themselves as "conservatives" and the
remaining
half as "middle-of-the-road"
or "liberal." Of the former
group,
two-thirds favored
Reagan,
while an
equal pro-
539
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
portion
of the moderates favored
Christopher. However,
the conservative forces
appeared
more
strongly
motivated to vote and contained fewer undecided voters
than did the
moderates, thus
accounting
for the over-all
Reagan edge. Significantly,
the
polls
indicated that
Reagan's
efforts to
portray
himself as a moderate were
prov-
ing
successful. Where the
California
Poll
reported Christopher
had held an
edge
of
17
percentage points
over
Reagan among
moderate
Republicans
in
April,
this lead
had narrowed to
just
2
points
in
mid-May.
At the same
time,
his
plurality among
conservative
Republicans
increased from 19 to 27
percentage points.
The
Reagan
trend described
by
the
polls
in
mid-May
was more than confirmed
by
the election
results,
the former actor
easily defeating
the former
mayor 1,419,623
to
675,683.
The extent of the
Reagan victory
in the G.O.P.
primary
demonstrated
clearly
his
appeal
to a much broader
spectrum
of
Republicans
than was the case with Gold-
water in 1964. Whereas Goldwater was able to achieve
only
a narrow 52
per
cent
Republican victory
over Rockefeller in their 1964
presidential primary race, Reagan
swept
the 1966
primary
with a
smashing
63
per
cent
victory,
dominated
by
near
80
per
cent
margins
in southern California.
Only
in the
Bay
Area was former San
Francisco
mayor Christopher
able to obtain a
majority,
as
Reagan captured
all
but five of the state's 58 counties. While the
deep
north-south
split
in the
Republican
party
continued to be demonstrated
-
Christopher
led
Reagan
in the north - the
primary
returns indicated an
equally significant
division
among Republicans
between
the
Bay
Area and the other northern counties.
In
1964, only
4
percentage points
had
separated
the distribution of the
Bay
Area G.O.P. vote from that of the rest of the northern half of the
state,
the two
sections
voting
62 and 58
per cent, respectively,
for Rockefeller. But in 1966 the nine
Bay
Area counties voted
nearly
55
per
cent for
Christopher,
while his vote in the
remaining
northern counties was less than 38
per
cent.
Although
there were distinct
differences within
regions
of the
state,
a three-fold
categorization
of
Republican
voting-
Southern
California,
Central
Valley, Bay
Area
-
seemed
appropriate
fol-
lowing
the
June gubernatorial
race.
Legislative
Results
The 1966
legislative primary
elections were dominated far less
by
the statewide
races or even
party politics
than
by
a
quite separate factor,
a
sweeping reapportion-
ment of the California state Senate
and,
of much less
importance,
minor
changes
in the state
Assembly. Following
an order of the state
Supreme
Court in mid-1965
calling
for
reapportionment
of the two
houses,
the
legislature
met in
special
session
in the
fall,
finally approving
a
plan
which was
signed
into law
by
Governor Brown
on October
27,
1965. Ratified
by
the state
Supreme
Court in
December,
the
plan
returned the state Senate to the strict
population
basis which had been in effect
from 1850 to
1930,
reducing
the number of senators
representing
the 50 northern
counties from 31 to 18 while
increasing
southern California
representation
from 9
to 22. Senate
representation
for Los
Angeles County,
hitherto the most
underrepre-
sented district in the
nation,
was increased from 1 to
14I/3.
Minor
adjustments
were
made in the
Assembly,
with the main
change
a reduction in San Francisco's
repre-
sentation from 5 to 4 seats.
540
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
The court order
required
that all 40 Senate seats be contested in
1966,
double
the usual number. In 20
seats, mostly
in the new districts in the southern half of the
state,
there were no incumbents
seeking
election. In
contrast,
in five districts in the
north a total of 12 incumbents thrown
together by reapportionment competed
for
their
party's
nomination. An additional 11 senators found it
advantageous
to retire
from office
entirely.
Of the 27 Senate incumbents
choosing
to
run, only
3 faced
opposition
in the
primary
from other than fellow senators.
However,
attracted
by
the
large
number of
"open" seats,
a record number of 211 candidates
competed
in
the senatorial
primary, nearly
four times the usual
figure.
Included
among
their
number were 19
assemblymen,
lured from the lower house
by
the
prospect
of a four-
year
term
(assemblymen
serve
only
two
years),
the added
prestige
of a
"senator,"
and
highly advantageous partisan districting
in which
they
had
participated only
a few months before. That the "case of the ambitious
assemblymen"
was a success is
suggested by
the fact that 16 of the 19 won their
primary
contests and 14 went on to
win Senate seats in the
general
election.
As a
consequence
of the
attempted
move of
assemblymen
to the Senate and the
retirement of several
others,
a total of 29
Assembly
seats were without an incumbent
in the
primary. Here, too,
the lure of
"open"
seats attracted a record number of 385
candidates. In
contrast,
relatively
few incumbents faced
opposition
from within
their own
party primary.
This
pattern
was
equally
true in the
congressional
pri-
maries in which 37 out of 38 incumbents ran for
re-election;
less than half of the
incumbents faced
opposition
from within their own
primary
and the number of con-
gressional
candidates was
markedly
fewer than in recent
years.
In
sum,
the
key
variable in
legislative
races in terms of both numbers of candi-
dates and contested
primaries
was the number of incumbents
contesting
the election.
That a decline would occur in
intra-party competition
in 1968 and 1970 as the
"new" incumbents established themselves seemed
likely.
And that incumbents would
rarely
be defeated within their own
primary
seemed
equally
true. In
1966,
the
only
primary
losses suffered
by
incumbents were in senatorial races contested
by
other
incumbent senators
or,
in one
case, by
an
assemblyman seeking
a senatorial seat.
GENERAL ELECTION
Registration
and Turnout
State and national
polling
data
indicating
the
upsurge
in G.O.P.
strength
dur-
ing
the
campaign
were verified
by
the release of the fall
registration figures
for the
two
parties.
In recent
years
Democrats had
always outgained
the
Republicans
in the
summer
registration
drive
by
wide
margins,
better than two to one in
1964,
for
example.
In
1966,
in
contrast,
the two
parties
were almost even in the number of
new
registrants
enlisted. In
year-to-year comparisons,
the
Republicans gained
some
170,000
new
registrants
over 1964 while the Democrats lost more than
17,000,
dropping
a
percentage point
to the
Republicans
in the
two-party
ratios.
The total
registration
for the state of
8,340,868
was the
largest
in
history,
exceeding by
more than
150,000
the
previous high
of 1964. While the vote
actually
cast in 1966 fell below the 1964
figure,
the turnout of 6.6 million voters was a new
record for a California
gubernatorial
election. The 79.2
percentage
of voters to
541
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
registrants compared favorably
with almost identical ratios in 1962 and
1958,
while
in terms of
partisan distribution,
the G.O.P. once
again
demonstrated its
superior
ability
to mobilize its
registrants.
Eighty-four per
cent of
registered Republicans
voted in 1966
compared
to 77
per
cent of the Democrats.
(In 1962,
the
comparable
figures
were 82 and 78
per
cent for the
Republicans
and
Democrats, respectively.)
Coloring
all of the
statistics, however,
was the fact that more than three million
California adults were
unregistered,
a
commentary
both on citizen
apathy
and the
need for
registration
reform.
The
Republicans
The
Republicans
faced two
major problems
in
planning
the
strategy
of the
general
election:
party unity
and
management
of the
gubernatorial
candidate. The
annihilation of
Christopher
as a moderate candidate and the size of
Reagan's pri-
mary
vote left no effective
grounds
for
intra-party
dissension. A state
campaign
executive committee was formed headed
by
two of the most
prominent
businessmen
and
party
factionalists of the 1964
campaign: Henry Salvatori, wealthy,
conserva-
tive, proponent
for
Goldwater;
and
wealthy, moderate, proponent
for
Rockefeller,
Leonard Firestone.5
Christopher
was hesitant
personally
to endorse
Reagan,
but
many
of his
key
staff members
immediately joined
the conservative
organization.
Reagan
also won a vote of confidence from
every major Republican auxiliary
organization.
The decision was made
early
in the
campaign
not to stir
up
old
party antipathies
by inviting
former
Republican
candidates to return to the scene of
previous party
battles.
Reagan
visited
Gettysburg
to receive Eisenhower's
blessing,
but
publicly
stated that he would not solicit
speaking engagements during
the
campaign
from
Richard Nixon or
Barry
Goldwater.
Reagan
did
unsuccessfully
seek U.S. Senator
Thomas Kuchel's endorsement. Kuchel had endorsed
Christopher
and
Reagan
refused his
request publicly
to disavow
support
from the
John
Birch
Society.
Thus
Kuchel
again
contributed to his
growing
alienation from the conservative
wing
of
the
party, seriously jeopardizing
his
prospects
for renomination in 1968.
The
meetings
of the state
party
convention and central committee
during
the
weekend of
August
4 offered the first
opportunity
to test the
temper
of the
party
organization
as a whole with reference to
campaign
issues.
By instigating
a move
to
modify
the statute
requiring
the election of a new state chairman between the
primary
and
general elections,
the
Republicans adroitly
avoided the kind of fac-
tional warfare which
plagued
the Democrats.
Reagan
set the
guidelines imple-
mented
by
the
platform
committee headed
by
conservative
Assemblyman
Frank
Lanterman, bridging
the "issue
gap"
between the various factions of the
party.
The "extremism issue" was met
by
the
strategy
of silence and the racial-discrimina-
tion-in-housing issue,
imbued with "white backlash"
implications,
was handled
by
a demand for
"repeal
or amendment" of the Rumford
Act,
which
prohibited
such
discrimination.
'Other members:
John
A.
McCone,
Marco Hellman and Arch
Monson,
former
Christopher
backers;
and Bernard Brennan and M.
Philip Davis,
leaders in the Goldwater
campaign.
Conservative members of the
party provided
the "seed
money"
to test
Reagan's prospects
as a candidate.
542
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
Professional
campaign management
has become
virtually
a
necessity
in Cali-
fornia
gubernatorial
elections and
many
observers believe that the skillful
guidance
of
Spencer-Roberts
and Associates contributed
greatly
to
Reagan's
success. The firm
participated
in all
aspects
of the
campaign
with the
exception
of
fund-raising
and
controlled the
organization, schedule, itinerary,
and the selection and
timing
of
issues.
The
campaign
was conducted with occasional
Hollywood flourishes,
but with
emphasis
on the
simplicity
and
sincerity
of the candidate.
Spencer-Roberts
stead-
fastly
denied
trying
to
change
the
Reagan image. Spencer
declared that "that
king-
maker stuff is a lot of bull. In
politics you
don't
change
a
guy's image
and
get any-
where. If
you try
. . . and
put
words in his
mouth, people
see
right through
him.
A
guy
has X number of
qualities,
and
you emphasize
some and not
others,
that's
all."
6
Whatever the
validity
of such a
political homily,
three
aspects
of
Reagan's
issue-behavior revealed skillful tactical
maneuvering:
he did not
respond
to
repeated
charges
that he was an "extremist" and was
appealing
to the "white backlash"
vote;
he settled for variations
upon
three basic
themes;
and his
positions
on
key
issues
moved
progressively
from the
right
to the center of the
ideological spectrum.
Believing
that
"normally you
can't
get through
more than two or three
issues,"
Spencer-Roberts
had
Reagan play
variations
upon
"three main ones ...
morality;
then
taxes, spending,
that whole ball of
wax;
and then the
eight years
of incum-
bency."
7 Subthemes on
morality
included: tax
scandals, nepotism,
civil
rights
vio-
lations and
riots,
narcotics and crime control. On taxes and
spending:
the
deficit,
welfare-giveaway,
home rule for allocation of federal funds and
property
tax relief.
For
eight years
of
incumbency:
third
term,
throw the rascals
out, left-wing
CDC
dominance and so forth. One
unplanned
issue
developed
from the
question
and
answer sessions with
crowds,
"the mess at
Berkeley." Reagan thereupon repeatedly
promised
an
investigation
to clean
up
conditions
leading
to the free
speech
and
filthy
speech
demonstrations at the
University
of California. He succeeded in
politicizing
the
problem
which led
subsequently
to the
precipitous
dismissal of President Clark
Kerr
by
the
Regents
of the
University.
The
slogan adopted by Reagan
for his cam-
paign
was "The Creative
Society."
The Democrats
The tradition of the Democratic
party entering happily
into internecine war-
fare in the
primary, only
to
emerge
united for the
general election,
was shattered in
1966. The
party
never
regained
the
unity requisite
for a
major campaign
effort.
Yorty
refused to endorse Brown and the vicious refrain of his earlier
charges
echoed
throughout
the
campaign.
Some of Unruh's
key personnel
were loaned to the
Brown
organization
to conduct
"get
out the vote"
campaigns
and to serve as liaison
between the
party
and
legislative
candidates. Unruh himself
finally
endorsed Brown
in the
general
election but remained out of the state until the last few
days
of the
6
Walt
Anderson, "Dynamic
Duo of California
Politics,"
Los
Angeles
Times West
Magazine,
December
11,
1966.
7
Ibid.
543
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
campaign, apparently believing
that
taking
the "low road"
against Reagan
would
compromise
his own future ambitions.
Misadventure seemed to trail Brown
throughout
the
campaign.
President
Johnson's
visit to
California,
scheduled for the first week in November in
conjunc-
tion with his
trip
to
Manila,
never materialized. Senator Robert
Kennedy spoke
in
various
parts
of the
state,
but the
citizenry
was far more bemused with the famous
Kennedy personality
than with
listening seriously
to Brown. The Governor won
the endorsement of famous non-constituents such as
Harry Truman,
the New York
Times and even
Life magazine,
but
Reagan
won the
support
of the influential Los
Angeles
Times and Oakland Tribune.
The
disjointed
and
sputtering
effort of the Brown
organization
was no more
dramatically displayed
than in the
sorry handling
of the issues of the
campaign.
Forgetting
the old
adage
"what have
you
done for me
lately,"
Brown was bewildered
when the mere recitation of the
accomplishments
of his first two administrations
was received with monumental indifference. He then tried to
identify Reagan
with
extremism
by linkage
with the
John
Birch
Society.
The innocuous rationalizations
of his
opponent
delivered in the bland
Reagan
manner
deftly parried
the
charge.
Brown then
indulged
in a
jejune gesture
of
offering
to ban the four issues from the
campaign
which the
Republicans
found most viable:
crime,
the
courts,
the Rum-
ford Act and the
University
of California!
By
the end of the first week in October
the Democrats admitted the failure of the extremism issue and shifted tactics to the
"impeachment
of the
witness," attacking Reagan's qualifications
and
credibility.
Finally
in
apparent desperation,
Brown
brought
the racism issue into the
open,
stat-
ing
that
Reagan
was
"riding
the backlash."
Conjecture
on the reasons for the rather
inept performance
of the Democrats
in the
gubernatorial campaign
centers
upon
several circumstances. There was no
firm
comparable
to
Spencer-Roberts
in
charge
of the total
campaign.8 Baus and
Ross with an enviable record of election victories
including
the Goldwater con-
quest
of Rockefeller in the 1964
primary
was
employed only
on an
"adjunct"
basis.
Another firm,
Harry
Lerner and
Associates,
dealt with some "attack issues"
against
the
opposition.
The Democratic
organization experienced
dissension at the
highest
echelon of the
decision-making process
and the
personal
animosities which
developed
affected the morale of the entire
organization.
In addition,
a series of events in the administration of
public policy
over the
past
several
years
left a residue of ill-will
among
both the liberal and conservative
wings
of the Democratic
party
which
undoubtedly
contributed to the defeat. Citi-
zens in both
camps
sensitive to
capital punishment
criticized Brown
vigorously
for
his
many attempts
and ultimate failure to save convicted
rapist-slayer Caryl
Chess-
man from execution in 1960. Neither faction was mollified when he
signed
the Rum-
ford Act
(anti-discrimination
in
housing),
was forced to use national
guardsmen
8
When asked how he would have handled the Brown campaign,
Roberts
(of Spencer-Roberts)
replied: "In the first
place
I would never have attacked Reagan. ... I would have killed
him with
kindness,
I would have said he's a
decent,
fine
person and no doubt has a future
in politics,
but
maybe
he should start at a local level . . . the extremist issue . . . was a mis-
take. That's an over-the-hill
issue;
it worked in '62 and '64 but not in '66. They finally
dropped that, but by the time they'd
shifted the issue,
school was out." Anderson,
ibid.
544
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
to
quell
a racial
uprising
in San Francisco in
September 1966,
and
subsequently
sponsored
a "law and order" Riot Act. Internal
party problems plagued
Brown
during
most of his two terms in office: he was unable to deliver the Democratic dele-
gation
to the
Kennedy organization
in
1960, fought
his
legislative
leaders in the
state Senate and
Assembly
almost
continuously,
felt
compelled
to
repudiate
the
CDC and its
position
on
key issues,
carried on a
running
vendetta with
Speaker
of
the
Assembly Jesse Unruh,
and seemed
incapable
of
mediating intra-party
conflicts
or
winning
the confidence of the
Johnson
Administration. In
short, despite many
governmental
and administrative
accomplishments,
he was not
politically adept
at
mobilizing
his
party's
resources.
Roughhouse Campaigning
California did not have a
statewide, bipartisan
fair
campaign practices
com-
mittee in this
campaign
as it has had in recent elections. The
Republican
state
chairman did
appoint
a
party
committee with that title to assist in
mediating
between
Republicans during
the
primary
election.9
The exhumation of the ancient misdemeanor
charge against Christopher
has
been
widely interpreted
as a lethal blow to his
candidacy.
The
story
first
appeared
in two columns of Drew
Pearson's,
but was
perpetuated
in
anonymous,
black-
bordered handbills
carrying
a
picture
of the candidate and a number across his chest
and
captioned
"Wanted." Some were distributed in
envelopes
mailed from Sacra-
mento
containing
both
Reagan
and
John
Birch literature.
Christopher
claimed that
others were found in
Reagan headquarters
in Los
Angeles
and that still more were
mailed
by
Brown's
Beverly
Hills
campaign
staff. The net effect of the
expose
was to
place Christopher
on the defensive
throughout
the remainder of the
campaign.
The Brown forces made a determined effort to
pin
the
John
Birch label
upon
Reagan.
In
anticipation
of the
charge Reagan
had issued a 500-word statement that
he neither
supported
nor
repudiated
the
organization
and that if individual mem-
bers of the
Society supported him, they accepted
his
views,
but that he did not neces-
sarily reciprocate.
On
August
11 Democratic state chairman Robert L. Coate
released a
"documentary"
of over 20
pages giving "names,
dates and
places" pur-
porting
to
prove
direct collaboration between
Reagan,
the
Society,
and its front
organizations.
The
report
also
alleged
that members of the
Society
were in the
Reagan campaign organization
and that
money
had been
accepted
from "eastern
extremists."
Reagan
was offered a
preview
of the statement before its release to the
press,
but declined to
join
the issue. Brown forwarded a
copy
to the National Fair Cam-
paign
Practices Committee
requesting
an
opinion
as to whether or not the
charges
constituted a
"smear,"
as the
Republicans
claimed.
A
follow-up
on the same theme
appeared
for distribution in a
"campaign
kit"
released
by
the California Democratic State Central Committee a month later.
Entitled "Ronald
Reagan
Extremist Collaborator: An
Expose,"
the
13-page
docu-
ment
represented
a facsimile of Time
magazine.
The Foreword claimed that "Ronald
9
The five members of the
Republican FCPC,
all
political sophisticates,
were: Dr. Arnold Beck-
man,
Herbert Hoover
Jr.,
former
Assemblyman Casper Weinberger,
and businessmen
J.
S. Fluor and Lee Kaiser.
545
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
Reagan
is an extremist's candidate for Governor of California. He is the extremist's
collaborator in California. He endorses their
projects, promotes
their
policies,
takes
their
money.
He is their 'front man.'
Meanwhile,
he
pretends
he is a
moderate,
middle-of-the-roader. The record belies him. It shows that he has collaborated
directly
with a score of
top
leaders of the
super-secret John
Birch
Society."
Other
forays
into the area of
questionable practices
found
Yorty charging
that
Brown received
support
from the Communist
party,
an
exchange
of
charges
between
Christopher
and Brown that each owned bank
stock, implying
conflict of
interest;
Brown
charging Reagan
with
bigotry
for
signing
a "Caucasian
only"
restrictive
covenant in
1941,
and
Reagan reciprocating
with the claim that Brown rented a
house with a restrictive deed while
staying
in Los
Angeles.10
As a
possible significant
aftermath of such
roughhouse
tactics Democratic
National Committeeman
Eugene
L.
Wyman
disclosed his intent to
request
a con-
gressional investigation
of the role of television and radio in election
campaigns.
California has 33 television channels and 322 radio stations. Television "editorials"
endorsing
candidates and
propositions
have become
commonplace;
radio "talk
shows" where
persons
call a station and
engage
in discussion with commentators
either
supporting
or
attacking
a candidate are
thriving; prediction
of the outcome
of an election before the
polls
close is standard
practice
on the
major networks,
and
"newscasts"
occasionally
come
perilously
close to
outright
endorsement of a candi-
date.
Wyman's
contention is "that as licensees of the federal
government,
radio and
television stations should not be allowed to use the
public
airwaves to endorse a
candidate for
public
office."
Gubernatorial Results
Reagan's
58
per
cent vote in his
victory
over Brown was almost as
sweeping
as
Brown's 60
per
cent vote in his win over Knowland had been in 1958. In that
year,
Brown had carried all but 4 of California's 58 counties. In
1966, Reagan
won 55
of the 58.
Among
the
large
counties of the
state, only
Alameda
(by
less than
2,000
votes)
and San Francisco voted for the incumbent
Democrat;
Brown's
percentage
vote declined from 1962
by margins ranging
from 4
per
cent in San Francisco to
16
per
cent in Kern. Not since Earl Warren's 65
per
cent vote in his
victory
in 1950
had a
Republican
candidate for
governor
demonstrated such
strength.
Perhaps
most
noteworthy
in the
Reagan victory
was the
blurring
of the north-
south
split
which featured the 1964
presidential
race. In that
year,
10
percentage
points separated
the vote above and below the
Tehachapis.
In
1966,
the
margin
was
reduced to 5
per
cent. Democrat Brown was able to run a close race
only
in the
San Francisco
Bay Area,
but even there trailed the G.O.P.
challenger.
The remain-
0
Under
Proposition
14 the state and its subdivisions or
agencies
are
enjoined
from
denying,
limiting
or
abridging
the
right
of an individual to
sell,
lease or rent his
property
to
anyone
he chooses. The
Supreme
Court held
(5-2)
that the measure denies
equal protection
under the 14th Amendment and the
supremacy
clause of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S.
Supreme
Court
subsequently upheld
this decision.
546
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
ing
northern
counties,
which had
provided
him with a 64 and 55
per
cent vote in
1958 and
1964,
respectively,
voted
only
43
per
cent Democratic in 1966.11
Whether the north-south
dichotomy,
described
by
these authors in their 1964
study,
is
undergoing change
will
require
continued and detailed
analysis. Perhaps
the main
example
of the
split
in 1966 was in the vote on the so-called
anti-obscenity
amendment,
Proposition
16.
Supported by Reagan
and an
expensive campaign,
the
initiative
proposition
was attacked
by
other leaders in both
parties
as unconstitu-
tional and unworkable. The marked
regional
difference in the
resulting vote,
53
per
cent "no" in the south and 62
per
cent "no" in the
north, suggests
that differences
in
political
culture within the state are
very
much alive.
Polls
The likelihood of a
Reagan sweep
had been
suggested by
the
polls
for more than
six months
preceding
the November election. Whereas in
January
1966 Brown
enjoyed
a small lead over
Reagan
in
public preference,
this
edge
was lost
by April
and never recovered. The
polling
data
conclusively
demonstrate
Reagan's
inroads
into Democratic
ranks,
the
key,
of
course,
to
Republican victory.
While in 1962
Brown had commanded the
allegiance
of 82
per
cent of decided Democratic voters
in the last
pre-election poll,
the
comparable figure
in 1966 was 73
per
cent.
Republi-
can
strength,
on the other
hand,
remained as
strongly
for
Reagan
as it had for Nixon
in 1962. Undecided voters were
substantially higher
than in
1962,
and of these
72
per
cent were
Democrats, many
of whom
apparently
voted for the
Republican
candidate.
Analysis
of
California
Poll
reports
over the
past eight years suggests
that basic
realignments may
be
taking place
within the Democratic
party, despite
the relative
constancy
of its 2-1 share of
registrants.
The data indicate that Governor Brown
suffered substantial losses in
support among
white
working people, especially
union
members,
and
among
lower income and educational
groups
which had been his chief
Democratic
percentage
of
two-party
vote for
president (1960
and
1964)
and
governor (1958,
1962,
and
1966)
-
by region
1958-66:
Region 1958 1960 1962 1964 1966
Northern California
San Francisco
Bay
Area* ..................... 65 52 57 66 49
Other .................................................. 64 51 55 63 43
Total .................... ............. 64 52 56 65 46
Southern California
Los
Angeles County
.......................... 58 50 53 58 43
Othert ........................................ 52 44 45 51 34
Total ........................................ 56 48 50 55 40
California
(whole state)
............................ 60 50 53 59 42
*Alameda,
Contra
Costa, Marin, Napa,
San
Francisco,
San
Mateo,
Santa
Clara, Solano,
and
Sonoma.
t Imperial, Orange, Riverside,
San
Bernardino,
San
Diego,
Santa
Barbara, and Ventura.
547
TABLE 2
CALIFORNIA REGISTRATION AND VOTE BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT- NOVEMBER 1966
DEMOCRATIC PER CENT OF TWO-PARTY TOTAL
Democratic
Total Per Cent VOTE FOR Per Cent
Vote/Registra-
District Number and Location
Registration Registration
Governor
Congress
Yes
Prop.
14 tion Ratio*
North Coast-Mountain
1 North Coastal .............................................
2 Sierra Nevada .............................................
Total .. ....................................
Central
Valley
3 Sacramento ................... ........
4 North Central
Valley
....................................
15 San
Joaquin-Stanislaus
...............................
16 Fresno-Merced-Madera .............................
18
Kern-Kings-Tulare
........
........................
Total ....--.......---- ... ..... ...-------
San Francisco
Bay
5 San Francisco . .... ........ ..................
6 San Francisco . . ........... ......................
7
Oakland-Berkeley
..............................
8 Oakland-Alameda-San Leandro ..................
9 Southern Alameda-San
Jose
........................
10 N. & W. Santa Clara ................... .................
11 San Mateo ....................................................
14 Contra Costa -- ..............-----...............--
Total ...........................................
Central Coast
12 N. Central Coast .............. .....................
13 Santa Barbara-Ventura ..............................
Total
285,207
240,175
525,382
273,320
149,603
186,378
216,685
220,421
1,046,407
55.0
60.1
57.4
63.4
63.8
60.9
66.5
62.7
63.5
130,365
241,758
191,038
190,294
216,060
293,942
253,210
239,668
1,756,335
185,469
228,175
413,644
41.1 34.9
39.6 70.9
40.4 51.3
49.1
44.1
41.7
46.2
38.9
44.3
72.4
63.1
63.2
65.6
76.8
51.7
56.5
59.6
61.1
54.5
54.3
54.4
66.8
55.2
59.1
47.3
45.3
42.9
46.3
44.9
49.4
67.5
59.5
57.0
71.4
44.1
60.3
71.3
23.4
64.4
65.4
63.2
30.9
40.6
56.4
48.7
38.5 22.7
37.9 32.5
38.1 28.1
74.7
65.9
70.4
37.8
42.5
39.9
35.2
41.0
40.5
45.6
46.9
41.5
H
Cd
r
i
H
Q-
?;
77.4
69.1
68.5
69.5
62.0
69.8
30.9
32.3
30.4
38.5
39.0
35.8
36.8
38.3
35.8
92.3
87.5
93.5
72.1
59.0
83.0
81.9
75.3
80.9
70.6
70.0
70.0
41.3
43.6
42.5 o
Los
Angeles County
17 Southern-Harbor ..........................................
170,588
68.0 41.7 60.8 52.0 61.3
19 Southern-Whittier ........................................
173,152
63.7 39.3 62.3 52.4 61.7
20 Northern-Pasadena
.................................... 226,993
41.3 30.9 26.6 47.2 74.8
21 Central .................................................
141,453
88.0 85.5 84.8 43.4 97.2
22 Northwest-San Fernando ..............-.............. 222,092
55.6 38.0 53.5 46.3 68.3
23 Central .................................................190,960
65.4 38.1 32.6 51.2 58.3
24 Northeast-Pomona .......................................
246,798
41.1 26.8 23.7 48.9 65.2
25 Eastern ......................... ................
175,706
62.2 36.1 47.4 52.2 58.0 H
26
Western-Beverly
Hills ................... ..........
221,241
70.3 62.7 62.3 37.3 89.2
27 North Central-Lancaster ......................... 188,827 59.8 39.3 34.7 48.6 65.7
28 Western-Malibu-Palos Verdes
................... 374,226
47.7 37.3 27.7 41.5 78.2
29 Central ..........................................
179,470
65.0 44.4 51.1 50.3 68.3
30 Central ..................................................... 160,623 67.2 58.9 66.4 50.8 87.6
31 West Central ..............................................
211,429
70.0 57.0 63.4 51.5 81.4
32
Southern-Long
Beach
.............................. 227,958
57.1 36.7 19.9 42.4 64.3 H
0
Total .... .... .... ........... ...
3,111,516
59.6 42.7 44.3
47.2 71.6
z
Other Southern
California
33 San Bernardino ..... .............................. 259,027
58.0 37.8 46.5 47.9 65.2
34 North
Orange
....................... .-
....
307,099
52.9 31.2 55.8 50.9 59.0
35 South Coastal ......................... ......
332,072
37.4 24.9 26.9 49.7 66.6
36 San
Diego
...................... ........... 213,925 49.0 34.8 27.1 42.4 71.0
37 San
Diego
...........
....
..................... 172,468
61.1 43.9 61.2 46.1 71.8
38
Riverside-Imperial
....................................... 202,993
54.9 37.2 54.5 52.3 67.8
Total .................................
.......
1,487,584
51.0 33.6 43.9 48.5 65.9
California
................. .......................8,340,868
58.5 42.3 46.8 43.6 72.3
North ....................... .......
3,513,593
60.9 45.9 51.3 38.4 75.4
South ...... .................................... ..........
.
..... 4,827,275
56.7 39.7 43.6 47.4 70.0
*
Democratic
Vote/Registration
Ratio derived
by dividing
Democratic
per
cent of
two-party
vote for
governor by
Democratic
per
cent of
two-party registration.
Cn
^D
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
source of
strength
in 1958
and,
to a lesser
degree,
in 1962.12 Whether this decline
was at least
partially
attributable to "white backlash" could not be
conclusively
demonstrated,
but the
high relationship
between
opposition
to California's fair
housing
act and
support
for G.O.P. candidate
Reagan
gave
credence to the
sup-
position.
The
ingredients
and
implications
of the G.O.P.
swing
can also be seen in a
review of the issues found
by
the
pollsters
to be of
public
concern in
mid-June
1966.
Heading
the list were
crime, drugs,
and
juvenile delinquency (selected by
57
per
cent
of the
public
as
important),
racial
problems (49 per cent),
state taxes and
financing
state
governments (44 per cent),
and welfare
programs (40 per cent). Significantly,
55
per
cent of the
survey sample
credited newcomer
Reagan
as the candidate most
likely
to do a better
job
of
handling
the issues which were of
importance
to them,
compared
to
only
31
per
cent who selected Brown.
This choice is
particularly revealing
in the
light
of a
separate California
Poll
survey
conducted in
September
which indicated
overwhelming public agreement
(71 per cent)
that
Reagan's greatest deficiency
was his
inexperience
in
government.
Apparently,
however,
this was more than offset in the
public's eye by
its view of his
strong points:
70
per
cent of the
sample surveyed
indicated that the G.O.P. candi-
date's
personality
and
speaking ability
were
among
his most
outstanding qualities
as
a
candidate,
followed
by
the fact that he
represented
a new face and new blood
(49 per cent),
and was
honest, sincere,
and a man of
integrity (33 per cent).
In
contrast,
while 57
per
cent of those
polled
indicated that Brown's
experience
was a
strong point
in his
favor, only
30
per
cent of the total
sample (and only
42
per
cent
of the
Democrats)
were
willing
to state that his
"good
record as Governor" was
among
his virtues.
Offsetting
even this modest affirmative
support
was
agreement
by
49
per
cent of those
polled (including
44
per
cent of the
Democrats)
that one
of Brown's weakest
points
was that he had been in office too
long.
In
sum,
the
polls suggest
that while there
appeared
to be
general public agree-
ment that the state was
facing complex
and difficult social and economic
issues,
there
was
equal agreement
that a new administration
-
regardless
of its lack of
experience
-
should be entrusted with their solution. Candidate
Reagan's
claim that he was a
"citizen"
politician,
rather than a
"professional" appeared
to strike a
Jacksonian
chord in the
public's
mind.
Legislative
Results
The
Republican
trend which
swept
the nation and the state
sharply
reduced
Democratic
margins
in both the state
legislature
and the
congressional delegation.
Five Democratic incumbents in the
Assembly,
five Democratic state senators and
three Democratic
congressmen
were
among
the casualties
resulting
from the G.O.P.
12
Brown's share of
preference
votes
among
white voters:
1958 1962 1966
Union members and their
family
........................... 78 72 57
Less than
high
school education ........................... 71 60 53
Lower income ...................... ... ........-.... . ........ ... 71 61 62
Source:
California Poll,
October 1966.
550
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
sweep.l3
As a result of
reapportionment
and G.O.P.
gains,
the turnover in the
California
legislature following
the 1966 elections was one of the
greatest
in the
state's
history.
In the
Assembly, only
46 incumbents returned to Sacramento at the
start of the 1967 session. The
pattern
in the state Senate was more
complicated
and
more
interesting.
While 18 incumbents were returned to office in the 40-man
chamber,
14
ex-assemblymen
were also
elected.l4
Significantly,
there were more
Democrats
among
this number
(9)
than there were Democratic incumbent senators.
And the 8 Democratic incumbents were also outnumbered
by
10
returning Republi-
can senators. As the 1967
legislature commenced,
it seemed
likely
that normal
pat-
terns of
organization
and
leadership
in the tradition-bound
upper
house
might
become
unstrung
as the various
groups
and factions
-
including
the new
assembly-
men
-
vied for
power.
That the Democrats retained
power
at all could be
largely
attributed to their
skillful
drawing
of district boundaries in 1961 and in the
special
session in 1965. As
shown in Table
1,
the combined
Republican
votes for each of the three
legislative
chambers exceeded that of the Democrats.
Nevertheless,
the
pattern
of
districting
results in Democratic
margins
in all three instances. The lesson is most
explicitly
seen in Los
Angeles County,
where the art of
districting
has been most
expertly
applied.
Of the 14 Senate districts created in
1965,
for
example,
8 were
safely
Demo-
cratic, 5
safely Republican
and
only
1 was
competitive.
The
consequence
of this
pattern
is seen in the fact
that,
while the combined Los
Angeles
G.O.P. senatorial
vote exceeded the Democratic vote
by
over
50,000 votes,
the Democrats won 9 of the
14 seats.
In
summary, although Republicans
were able to make serious inroads into
Democratic
strength
in
1966,
the same
general pattern
of
legislative politics
described
by
these authors in earlier studies
again prevailed.
In all three chambers
-
Senate,
Assembly,
House of
Representatives
-
well over half the seats are so
heavily regis-
tered for one
party
or the other that
general
election
competition
offers little
promise
of success.'5
Although
an occasional
Republican
can win in a district
registered
63
per
cent or more Democratic
and,
on even rarer
occasions,
a Democrat in a district
registered
53
per
cent or less
Democratic,
these are but
exceptions
to the
general
rule. As in the national
congressional arena,
shifts in the
party
occur in a
relatively
small number of
districts,
and the ouster of an incumbent is
regarded
as
noteworthy.
Another measure of
competitiveness,
of
course,
is the closeness of the contest. Here
the distinction between the safe and
competitive districts,
as defined
by registration,
was
equally
as
pronounced
in the 1966 elections. Of the 51
competitive districts,
13
Four of the five Democratic senators were defeated by Republican senators,
thrown into the
same district as a result of the 1965 court-ordered
reapportionment.
14
One additional development arising
out of
reapportionment
may
be an increase in the num-
ber of state
legislators, particularly
in Los
Angeles
County,
seeking congressional office.
As a result of the
four-year
term,
a state senator will be able periodically to compete for
congressional
office without risking
his own seat, a
tempting opportunity for an ambitious
politician.
c In
1966,
of the 158
legislative
districts
(38 congressional,
80
assembly and 40 state senate),
50 were in the
competitive
class
(54-62 per
cent
Democratic). Of these
seats,
20 were
held
by
Democrats and 30
by Republicans following
the election. In
contrast, 61 of the 68
"safe" Democratic seats were held
by Democrats,
while all but 2 of the 40 G.O.P. districts
were represented by Republicans.
551
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
31
(61 per cent)
were won
by margins
of less than 60
per
cent. In the 107 safe
seats,
on the other
hand,
41
(38 per cent)
involved contests which were this close.
FINANCE
The stress and strain of
party campaign financing
seemed more in evidence
than usual. The
plight
of the
voluntary party
worker was
exemplified
when Dr.
Gaylord
B.
Parkinson, Republican
state
chairman, acknowledged receipt
of
$30,000
from a fund subscribed to
by
individual
Republican
donors entitled
SCORE,
stand-
ing
for the Select Committee on Research and Education. The fund was raised to
help
reimburse him for loss of income because his medical
practice
had been
seriously
curtailed since he became a
party
officer. He claimed that sums received
from the
Republican
State Central Committee covered
only
travel and basic
expenses
of the
position.
The
difficulty
of
compliance
with the State Elections Code which
requires
a
candidate to
pay
his bills within 25
days
of the election was demonstrated
by
the
Democrats when several affluent members felt
obliged
to
sign
a
$140,000
note to
meet the immediate
expenditures
of Pierre
Salinger
in the 1964
campaign
and held
a dinner a
year
later to
attempt
to
liquidate
a
$230,000
deficit.
In the middle of March 1966 a mortal blow was struck at one of the
prime
sources of
party
funds
by
an amendment to the federal tax bill which bans deduc-
tions
by corporations
for advertisements in
political publications.
With their 136-
page
"Tribute to Governor Edmund G. Brown" souvenir
program dispensed
at Los
Angeles Sports
Arena on March
2,
the Democrats raised
approximately $300,000.
Advertising
in
gold
ink was sold at
$5,000
a
page,
while the silver
pages brought
$2,500
each. Under the new
legislation,
none of this
advertising
will be tax
deductible.
Finally,
the candidates as well as the
parties
became
extremely apprehensive
when Internal Revenue Service
agents appeared
in
September
to scrutinize the
books of
public
relations
campaign
firms
handling
hundreds of thousands of
dollars for both
parties.
Besides dinners
ranging
from
$25
to
$1,000
a
plate, advertising,
and
large
donations from
wealthy adherents,
several other
interesting
sources of funds were
revealed. A month before the
primary,
the two state chairmen announced a
plan
called the California
Compact.
A
non-profit group,
the California Good Citizen-
ship Committee,
was formed and serviced
by
a
professional
staff to raise
money
for
both
parties.
California businesses and industries were furnished
plans
to
organize
"in-plant political
contribution
programs." Employees
were to contribute to the
party
or candidate of their choice with the funds to be
dispensed by
the
employer.16
An in lieu source was revealed
by
the Democrats when State Controller Alan
Cranston was asked to vacate his rent-free
campaign headquarters
in the Los
Angeles Subway
Terminal
Building.
The
building
is owned
by
an insurance com-
pany
headed
by
Louis
Warschaw,
whose wife was defeated for the Democratic state
chairmanship
last
summer,
allegedly
with the assistance of Cranston.
16
The
Aerojet-General Corporation,
a
pioneer
in this
area, reported
that
12,835
of
20,000
employees
contributed
$82,228
or an
average
sum of
$6.40 apiece
to 239 candidates and
committees of both
major parties.
552
THE 1966 ELECTION IN CALIFORNIA
Another
interesting source, apparently tapped openly
for the first
time,
were the
300
lobbyists registered
with the state
legislature. Christopher
backers addressed a
letter to "Dear
Legislative
Advocate"
asking
each
recipient
to
purchase
a
$100
ticket
to a testimonial dinner for the candidate. The
suggestion
was made that tables
would not be reserved for less than ten
guests.
The
lobbyists
were told that "Christo-
pher,
in our
opinion,
has an excellent chance to become
governor."
Governor Brown's adherents solicited hundreds of
appointees
to state
boards,
commissions,
and
departmental positions. Telephone
callers
reading
a letter of
solicitation
by
an executive of the
campaign organization
were followed
by
mailed
contribution forms in
quadruplicate.
A contribution chart was included
suggesting
that
gifts
be scaled
according
to
salary,
the
steps ranging
from a minimum of
$100
for those
earning
less than
$12,000
a
year
to
$1,250
or
$1,500
for those
earning
$25,000
to
$27,500.
It was
reported
that over
1,000 persons
were solicited.
California
campaigns
have attracted out-of-state funds for
many years,
but
the sources and amounts are cloaked in
mystery.
The
Republican
state finance
chairman in
Connecticut, angry
over lack of financial
support, charged
in October
that
wealthy Republicans
in that state had contributed over
$400,000
to
Reagan,
Senator
John
Tower of Texas and
Representative
Howard
Callaway,
candidate
for
governor
in
Georgia.
Brown
charged
that
Reagan
had had out-of-state con-
tributors to his
primary campaign
and
implied
that
many
of these
"angels"
were
members of the
John
Birch
Society;
the
allegation
was denied.
Whatever the
source,
Brown
reported expenditures
of
$561,876
in the
primary,
Reagan $544,199, Christopher $459,586,
Patrick
$332,140
and
Yorty $311,238.
Preliminary
and
incomplete reports
on the
general
election indicated that
Reagan's
organization spent
over
$2.6
million and
Brown's,
over
$2.0
million. This
may
well
have been
by
far the most
expensive
election in the state's
history.
CURIOSA
Every campaign
in California has its
quota
of bizarre
political incongruities.
An
ultra-rightist
movement
sponsored by
a "Committee for a
Responsible
California
Supreme
Court"
developed during
the
campaign
to unseat four state
Supreme
Court
justices,
three of whom had voted to invalidate a ballot
proposition
which
nullified the Rumford Act
(one
concurred but was
disqualified
from
voting).
The
plan
was to mobilize the
popular majority
of over 4.5 million which had
supported
Proposition
14 in 1964 to vote
against
ratification of the
gubernatorial appointments
in the
hope
that a
Reagan victory
would
bring
a conservative
majority
to the court.
The
average
vote
against
continuation of the five
justice's
tenure was
685,762
with
a
high
of
818,033
and a low of
364,051.
CONCLUSION
In
concluding
their
study
of the 1964
election,
the authors stated that each
party
had the
potential
to win in California in
1966,
that each faced internal fac-
tionalism
composed
of
ideological
differences and the clash of
leadership
ambitions
and that "the victorious
party
in the 1966
struggle
for
power
would be the first
to have resolved these dilemmas
successfully." Although
it
may
well be that no
Democratic candidate for
governor
could have survived the national
Republican
553
THE WESTERN POLITICAL
QUARTERLY
trend in
1966,
it is clear that the
Republican party
met this
challenge
more effec-
tively
than the Democrats. Yet as one looked forward to 1968 and
beyond,
it was
evident
that,
despite
its
impressive gains,
the G.O.P. could not rest on its laurels.
Confronting
the
party
was the
prospect
of a bitter
primary
battle in 1968 for the
U.S. Senate seat
currently occupied by
moderate
Republican
Thomas Kuchel. In
early 1967,
an effort to unseat Kuchel was
being
initiated
by Republican
backers
united behind the
prospective candidacy
of Max
Rafferty,
California's
vocal,
articu-
late,
and conservative
superintendent
of
public
instruction.
Equally disturbing
to
exponents
of G.O.P.
unity
was the
potential explosiveness
of a contested
presidential primary.
That national candidates could
ignore
the Cali-
fornia
primary,
or that a
Reagan
favorite-son
delegation
could remain united at a
sharply
contested
convention,
seemed doubtful. Memories of the ill-fated California
Democratic
delegation
of 1960 loomed
large among thinking Republican politicians,
but their course of action was unclear.
On the Democratic
side,
the future was even more uncertain. A
relatively
non-
political attorney general
and razor-thin
majorities
in the state
legislature
and Con-
gress
were all that remained of the 1958 landslide which had marked the renaissance
of the Democratic
party
to whom
victory
had been so
long
denied. To whom did the
party
future
belong? Speaker Jesse
Unruh and
Mayor
Samuel
Yorty
were the names
most
frequently
mentioned. Even more
likely
was the
emergence
of new
personali-
ties,
related to the
Johnson-Kennedy-Humphrey in-fighting already
evident in
party
circles.
Only
one
thing appeared
certain in 1967- a fundamental and
permanent
shift of
political power
to southern California. Predictions that there would never
again
be a
governor
or U.S. senator from above the
Tehachapis
were no doubt
premature.
But that the future of California would
increasingly
be dominated
by
the decisions of Los
Angeles
and
Orange County
voters was the
key political
fact
of life in the Golden State.
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