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GOP Senate Hopefuls Aim Their Shots at Zschau

Times Political Writer

If attacks by rivals are a sign that a candidate has momentum, then Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Ed Zschau has reason to feel very good in the last days before Tuesday’s primary.

His opponents for the nomination used part of their time in the campaign’s final forums over the weekend to focus their fire one last time on the Los Altos congressman, who in six months has moved from obscurity to become an apparent front-runner in the GOP Senate race.

At a taping of KNBC’s “News Conference” Friday night, Zschau, a supporter of Proposition 51, was assailed for paying to have his name put on a slate mailer that urges Republicans to vote against the so-called “deep-pockets” proposition, which would limit a co-defendant’s share of pain and suffering damages in a lawsuit to that defendant’s share of the blame.

Two Different Positions

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Zschau’s appearance on the “No on 51" mailer, charged Rep. Bobbi Fiedler (R-Northridge), was yet another example of Zschau’s taking two different positions on an issue.

“I paid to have my name on the mailer because I was not very well known when I started this race and the mailer allowed me to get my message out to the voters,” Zschau retorted.

And though Zschau said the mailer includes a disclaimer to distance candidates from the “No on 51" message, state Sen. Ed Davis (R-Valencia) pointed out that the disclaimer is in such tiny print that it is virtually unreadable.

The issues were broader--and probably of much more interest to the average voter--at the San Diego City Club debate on Saturday.

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Grilled on Vote

Former TV and radio commentator Bruce Herschensohn, who share’s front-runner status with Zschau in the polls, asked the congressman why he had voted to give U.S. military aid to Mozambique, which has a Marxist government and “votes against the United State 97% of the time” in the United Nations.

“I supported the policy of the Reagan Administration,” Zschau replied, “which is supporting the government there. We have taken the position that to pull Mozambique away from the Soviet Union we will provide support to that government.”

Davis wanted to know why Zschau is touting his strong opposition to the Peripheral Canal in Northern California while rarely mentioning that fact in the south.

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“When there was a vote on the Peripheral Canal (a 1982 initiative),” Zschau responded, “a majority of those in the south opposed the canal. The answer is not to divert water around the Sacramento Delta . . . but (to have) a state water plan based on a series of reservoirs to store water.”

Failed to Support President

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich asked Zschau why in 1983 he failed to support President Reagan when he instructed the U.S. representative to the International Monetary Fund to oppose IMF loans to communist countries.

Zschau’s answer: “That amendment would have undermined the IMF. . . . The United States is the most active user of the fund. We use it to meet our short-term obligations.”

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If the attacks stung, a smiling and relaxed Zschau didn’t let on as he stuck to his message that his combination of conservatism on fiscal issues and moderation on social issues would allow him to “seize the center of the electorate and defeat (Democratic) Sen. Alan Cranston in November.”

Not coincidentally, Cranston was in San Diego himself on Saturday for an environmental forum where he criticized Reagan Administration policies on offshore oil drilling. Meanwhile, his campaign advisers were keeping tabs on the final Republican debate as they look to the coming campaign.


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