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Longshore Weighs in Early for 1986 Contest With Robinson

Times Staff Writer

Richard Longshore, who lost an Assembly race last year to Democratic incumbent Richard Robinson by only 256 votes despite being heavily outspent, said Friday that he will try again next year.

The only surprise was his early announcement, as Longshore had vowed on election night to take on Robinson again.

Longshore proclaimed Robinson, who was first elected to the 72nd Assembly District seat in 1972 and for years was regarded as a sure winner, to be “hopelessly out of touch with the needs of the working class of Orange County.”

Longshore, 61, said he was announcing his intention to run 17 months before the balloting because “there’s (only) so many dollars (available) for an election.” With U.S. Senate and gubernatorial contests also scheduled in California next year, he said, he wants to make sure he gets some of the financing from Republican contributors.

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Confident of Funding

Without predicting how much he thinks the race will cost, Longshore said, “I think what it takes will be available.”

One source of support will be the Orange County Lincoln Club, a group of wealthy Republican contributors and fund-raisers, whose chairman, Coalson Morris, was present to endorse Longshore.

Without naming names, Morris predicted that Longshore’s surprisingly close race against Robinson, one of just two Democrats in Orange County to survive the Republican near-sweep in last year’s races for state and national office (State Sen. Paul Carpenter of Cypress, whose district is mostly in Los Angeles County, was the other), was likely to bring out other candidates for the Republican nomination.

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Morris denounced “the opportunists, the carpetbaggers,” and said Longshore deserved the nomination for taking on Robinson in 1982 when no one else was willing to do so.

One person who has been soliciting support for a campaign against Robinson next year is the legislator’s former aide, Kathy Buchoz, a former Westminster mayor. Buchoz lost a 1982 Democratic state Senate primary by only 388 votes, but turned Republican last year.

Buchoz said Friday she is still “seriously considering” battling Longshore for the GOP nomination.

“It appears to me the power brokers are attempting to close the door on the competition,” she said. “I’ve always felt the winner in a contested primary emerges as a much stronger candidate (in the general election).”

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“I think this barrage of endorsements for Mr. Longshore is far too premature and just discourages anyone else from going ahead.” But she said hastened to add that she is not discouraged.

One of the endorsements for Longshore came from Assemblyman John Lewis (R-Orange), a conservative with considerable influence within the party in Orange County. Assemblyman Dennis Brown (R-Long Beach), whose district also includes part of Orange County, also added his endorsement.

Longshore’s 1982 campaign against Robinson got him 43% of the vote and a defeat by nearly 7,800 votes. The 1984 race, in which Longshore spent $300,000 and Robinson $800,000, got him more than 49% of the votes and a 256-vote loss.

Robinson, 41, said by telephone from Sacramento that last year’s close race was a fluke in which Longshore “was tremendously benefited by the presence of Ronald Reagan on the ballot. He, of course, will not have that advantage next time.”

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And, Robinson said, “I will be working harder than in the last election.”

The 72nd Assembly District covers most of Santa Ana, all of Stanton, and parts of Anaheim, Garden Grove and Westminster. Although Democrats have an edge in the number of registered voters, Robinson was nearly defeated, apparently by the coattail effect of votes for Reagan and for Robert K. Dornan, the Republican who moved into the area to successfully challenge Democratic Rep. Jerry Patterson. Robinson’s Assembly district is contained within the Congressional district, the 38th.


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