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Poll Gives Him 1% Advantage Over Sebastiani : Campbell Ahead in Race for Controller

Times Political Writer

State Sen. William Campbell (R-Hacienda Heights) is leading--but not by much--in the four-man race to be his party’s nominee for state controller, according to the latest California Poll.

Results of the poll, by San Francisco political analyst Mervin Field’s organization, were released to the candidates and to subscribing newspapers on Tuesday.

Campbell, who represents a district that sprawls from Hacienda Heights in Los Angeles County to San Juan Capistrano in Orange County, is leading Sonoma Assemblyman Don. A. Sebastiani by 1 percentage point, according to the poll. Two other candidates trailed Campbell by margins of 14 points and 17 points.

The poll results, which were confirmed by Campbell and a source outside the Campbell campaign, were the second boost to Campbell’s campaign in three days. In Fresno on Sunday, delegates to California Republican Assembly, the state’s largest and oldest conservative Republican volunteer organization, endorsed Campbell over Sebastiani by 178 votes to 82.

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Campbell, a fiscal conservative who was the Senate minority leader from 1978 to 1985, said he was delighted Tuesday with the California Poll results, which gave him a slight edge over Sebastiani and showed him far ahead of Dan Stanford, former chairman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, and former state Sen. Marz Garcia of Menlo Park.

According to the poll, taken between March 17 and March 26, Campbell was favored by 21% and Sebastiani by 20%. Stanford was supported by 7% of those queried and Marz trailed with 4% of the vote. Fully 48% of those questioned said they were undecided.

Both the poll and the CRA endorsement should help his fund raising, Campbell said Tuesday. “I think I’m known by the political people but not by the average voter,” he conceded. But now, Campbell said, he expected CRA groups all over the state, including the chapters in smaller towns in rural counties, to be promoting his candidacy.

So far, Campbell, 50, has raised $200,000 for the race, but he said he needs $600,000 to buy television time in major markets throughout the state before the June 3 primary. Veteran political consultant Stuart Spencer of Newport Beach is handling the campaign.

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