Advertisement

The Race Is On : Buchanan Enters State Treasurer Contest

Times Political Writer

Ending weeks of speculation, former U.S. Treasurer Angela M. (Bay) Buchanan of Irvine barnstormed California on Tuesday to announce her candidacy for the Republican nomination for state treasurer.

Buchanan, 40, flew to Sacramento, Fresno, Burbank and San Diego to promote her challenge of Treasurer Thomas Hayes, a Republican. Hayes, 43, was appointed to his post by Gov. George Deukmejian last year after the death of Jesse M. Unruh.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Apr. 20, 1989 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday April 20, 1989 Orange County Edition Metro Part 2 Page 2 Column 6 Metro Desk 1 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
A story Wednesday said Orange County Republican Party Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes supported Angela (Bay) Buchanan in her race for state treasurer. Fuentes said Wednesday he has made no endorsement in the Republican primary.

Buchanan, calling herself “the underdog” to the governor’s candidate, nevertheless dismissed suggestions that she was defying Deukmejian.

“I’m not running against George Deukmejian,” Buchanan said at the sparsely attended press conference in Fresno. “If he (Deukmejian) wants to run for treasurer, I’ll be glad to step out,” Buchanan said.

Advertisement

The announcement is expected to set in motion a costly internecine battle that Deukmejian and other Republican leaders had hoped to avoid. Many GOP insiders were unhappy that Deukmejian had not chosen someone with stronger party credentials to succeed Unruh in the only constitutional office that has fallen vacant during Deukmejian’s term in office.

Hayes, the nonpartisan state auditor general for 10 years, had purposefully stayed clear of party politics during his tenure. His job required him to make recommendations to the Legislature and governor regarding state government operations. He registered as a Republican when he was appointed state treasurer.

Questions Credentials

In an interview Tuesday, Buchanan avoided attacking Hayes’ record but sharply questioned his party credentials.

Advertisement

“There is no reason for conservatives to mount a campaign on behalf of Tom Hayes. He has never lifted a finger for the (conservative) movement,” Buchanan said.

Whoever wins the GOP primary will likely face Kathleen Brown, the leading Democratic candidate, in the 1990 general election. Brown is the sister of former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and daughter of former Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown Sr.

“I believe I can beat Kathleen Brown. I can keep this office for Republicans,” Buchanan said in Sacramento. Buchanan herself is the sister of a political figure with his own fame in GOP circles, Washington commentator Patrick Buchanan.

“A run of Jerry Brown’s sister against Pat Buchanan’s will bring national attention and national money,” Bay Buchanan said Tuesday, estimating that she will need up to $1.5 million for the primary alone.

Advertisement

A First for Women

Should Buchanan and Kathleen Brown both win their party’s nominations, it will be the first time in California history that two women have faced each other in a general election for a state constitutional office. Secretary of State March Fong Eu and former state Treasurer Ivy Baker Priest--who coincidentally was also a U.S. treasurer before she ran for the state post--are the only two women to have been elected to statewide office, according to Caren Daniels Meade of the secretary of state’s office.

Buchanan’s entry into the race has split Republicans in her home turf of Orange County, with several Assembly members siding with Hayes, including Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez, while Orange County Republican Party Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes is backing Buchanan.

Several county Republicans said they know and like Buchanan but do not want to see the party’s resources depleted when there is a qualified Republican incumbent.

Advertisement

“This is one of those tough decisions when you have to pick between two people, both of whom you like,” said Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle (R-Huntington Beach), who has decided to support Hayes.

Assemblyman Gil Ferguson (R-Newport Beach) said he was “extremely disappointed” at Deukmejian for failing to select either a politician or “someone who was very active in the Republican Party.” But now that the governor had used his “political chips” on the appointment, Ferguson said he thought it best for Republicans to get behind Hayes.

Embarrassment for Governor

“If he (Hayes) lost now, it would be a terrible embarrassment to the governor,” Ferguson said.

Advertisement

Others in the county’s legislative delegation, including Assembly Minority Leader Ross Johnson (R-Fullerton) and Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove), are prepared to wait and see.

But Buchanan’s candidacy has sparked unbridled enthusiasm among another sector of the county’s conservative Republicans.

“I consider Bay Buchanan the most intelligent woman I have ever met in politics,” said Fuentes, adding that he will support Buchanan. “I esteem her very highly.”

Buchanan is known as a hard-driving, politically ambitious Republican who has earned her way into party politics on the national, state and local levels.

Advertisement

“Bay has good campaign instincts because she is a fighter,” said Eileen Padberg, a GOP political consultant. “She’s aggressive and she’s intelligent.”

Buchanan is expected to be able to raise money both statewide and nationally for her campaign because of her former position as U.S. treasurer and her ties to the Reagan and Bush administrations. At 30, she was named in 1979 as national treasurer of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. In 1986, she managed the U.S. Senate campaign of Los Angeles commentator Bruce Herschensohn, a fellow conservative who came in second for the Republican nomination.

‘Ability to Raise Money’

“She has a great ability to raise money also, and that’s the name of the game,” Buchanan’s business partner, Jackie Campbell, said. “That will tell the tale.”

Advertisement

While a few local Republicans muttered privately that they thought of Buchanan as a hired hand for GOP causes who had done little in the way of actual volunteer work, Fuentes praised Buchanan as an “in-the-trenches, hands-on, volunteer and professional leader of campaigns and conservative causes.”

Fuentes, who has been known to scold Republicans who have jumped into primaries where there is a GOP incumbent, or even a favorite of party leaders, defended Buchanan’s candidacy.

“There is a sharp difference here in that the appointed incumbent . . . never has been the nominee of the party,” Fuentes said.

John Cronin, a member of the Lincoln Club, a prestigious Orange County GOP support group, also had high praise for Buchanan.

Advertisement

“I’d say Bay is someone who’s paid her dues inside the party,” Cronin said. “I think she’d be a dynamic candidate.”

He added that he also thought she would have a better chance of defeating another woman in the race.

Even her recently divorced husband, William R. Jackson, had nothing but positive things to say about her qualifications for state treasurer.

“She is very, very, very hard-working,” Jackson said. “She is also very, very, very good with numbers. And she is also very, very, very bright.”

Advertisement

Lists His Accomplishments

Hayes, who has never run for elective office, has said that because he was not affiliated with either party, legislators reviewed his recommendations to them on the merits and without concern for politics. He said that as a result, he was able to gain approval for programs that saved the state more than $400 million over his 10 years in the office.

Hayes has been traveling the state meeting local Republicans in an effort to bolster his candidacy. His itinerary has included six trips to Orange County in recent months, speaking to members of the Lincoln Club and other groups and meeting privately with potential supporters.

On April 27, Hayes and Deukmejian will appear jointly at a private, $1,000-per-person luncheon in Newport Beach being organized by Orange County developer Kathryn Thompson. Among those who are expected to attend are some of the county’s top developers, including Don Koll, George Argyros and William Lyon.

Advertisement

Buchanan has hired Washington consultant Roger Stone and pollster Lance Tarrance for her effort. She pledged Tuesday to refuse donations from anyone who does any business with the treasurer’s office.

Hayes has hired as his campaign manager Brian Lungren, brother of former Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Long Beach), whom Deukmejian first chose as Unruh’s replacement but who failed to win legislative confirmation. Several of the governor’s closest supporters, including his former chief of staff, lawyer Steve Merksamer, will play a key role.

Called a Wise Move

Also, in an unexpected stroke of political savvy, Hayes convinced B.T. Collins, a Republican who once was chief of staff to the younger Gov. Brown, to be his chief of staff. Collins is revered on both sides of the political fence.

Advertisement

“His support of Hayes makes a very dramatic difference in Hayes and makes up to a large extent for his lack of political experience,” Assemblyman Ferguson said. “B.T. has been twisting arms throughout the state. . . . He has more than enough political acumen to make sure that Hayes meets the right people as he goes around the state.”

Campaign Trail Angela M. Buchanan of Irvine, announcing a bid for GOP nomination for state treasurer in 1990, covered the state Tuesday from Sacramento to San Diego.


Advertisement
Advertisement