Bright orange and black Deane Dana campaign...

Bright orange and black Deane Dana campaign signs have popped up on street corners, telephone poles and fences all over the South Bay.

But which Deane Dana? The signs don't say.

Nor do they tell you what he's running for--and for good reason.

There are two Deane Danas, each seeking a different office.

The signs, as well as a few billboards, were paid for by Los Angeles County Supervisor Deane Dana, who is up for reelection this year. His son, Deane Dana III, is running for the state Assembly this spring.

Deane Dana, the supervisor, is well known, but his son, an assistant director of the state Department of Aging in Sacramento, who has never run for office, is not. So the signs serve two purposes--reinforcing the supervisor's standing with the voters while boosting the Dana name identification, which can only help his son in what would presumably be a crowded Republican primary contest for the Assembly.

"There might be some residual benefits," the younger Dana acknowledged.

He conceded that a private poll of South Bay voters showed that "there is some confusion" about which Dana is which.

And with the poll showing that his father has "a very visible image," Deane III isn't going out of his way to clear up the confusion. His business cards say simply Deane Dana for Assembly.

Early campaign signs are something of a trademark for the political consultant running both Dana campaigns. Ron Smith has a record of taking candidates with little name identification and making them known to the voters.

It was Smith who helped Rep. Ed Zschau (R-Los Altos Hills) rise from just an asterisk in public opinion polls to win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1986. Zschau later lost the state's closest Senate race in this century to Democrat Alan Cranston.

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