Two of the four state Senate seats in Orange County are on the ballot Nov. 3, but the Democratic and third-party challengers will probably have a tough time unseating Republican incumbents because of a huge GOP registration advantage within the two districts.
In the 33rd Senate District held by Sen. John R. Lewis (R-Orange), Republicans outnumber Democrats 57% to 31%. Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) also enjoys a hefty advantage in her 35th Senate District, where Republicans account for nearly 54% of
the registered voters and Democrats 32.5%. The two Republicans also enjoy a big edge in fund-raising over their competitors, who have run mostly low-cost, grass-roots campaigns.
But this has been an odd political year, and Democrats Dorianne Garcia in the 35th and Samuel D. Eidt in the 33rd hope that lightning will strike in the form of a strong anti-incumbent vote. With Democrat presidential challenger Bill Clinton running surprisingly strong in Orange County, they also hope to ride the coattails of their party's top candidate
The following are the questions asked of each candidate:
Abortion rights--Do you support or oppose abortion rights?
Education voucher--Do you support the proposed education initiative, which would provide parents with a voucher they can use to send their children to the school of their choice, including a private institution?
Health care plan--Do you support Proposition 166, the California Medical Assn.'s health care initiative requiring all employers to provide basic coverage for any employee working more than half-time?
Gay rights--Do you support legislation, similar to AB101, prohibiting discrimination by employers against homosexuals?
Welfare plan--Do you support Gov. Pete Wilson's proposed budget and welfare plan, calling for a minimum 10% reduction in welfare grants, incentives to stay in school, lower payments for new state residents and enhancement of the governor's budgetary powers?
Gnatcatcher--Should the California gnatcatcher, a rare bird that nests in areas targeted for development, be designated as a state endangered species?
John R. Lewis: REPUBLICAN
Occupation: State senator
Background: Elected last year to the state Senate in a special election to fill the vacancy created by John Seymour's appointment to the U.S. Senate. Served in the Assembly from 1980 to 1991.
Issues: Abortion rights--opposes. Education voucher--supports. Health care plan--opposes. Gay rights--opposes. Welfare plan--supports. Gnatcatcher--opposes.
Samuel D. Eidt: DEMOCRAT
Home: Mission Viejo
Occupation: Insurance claims representative
Background: Political newcomer who became interested in politics while studying political science and economics in college.
Issues: Abortion rights--supports. Education voucher--opposes. Health care plan--opposes, but might favor a modified plan. Gay rights--would probably support legislation. Welfare plan--opposes portions of plan but favors reform. Gnatcatcher--supports.
Doyle Guhy: LIBERTARIAN
Home: Yorba Linda
Occupation: Accountant, financial consultant
Background: Self-employed for the last five years after working for an international accounting firm. Has been active in the Libertarian Party for one year, but has supported its candidates for more than 10 years.
Issues: Abortion rights--supports individual rights, according to the Libertarian Party philosophy. Education voucher--supports, with the goal to completely privatize educational system. Health care plan--opposes. Gay rights--opposes any legislation for group rights, feels laws already exist to protect gays. Welfare plan--supports, but would like to see more training to end welfare cycle. Gnatcatcher--opposes.
Marian Bergeson: REPUBLICAN
Home: Newport Beach
Occupation: State senator
Background: Elected to the state Senate in 1984, becoming the first of two women Republican senators ever to be elected in the state's history. Served in the Assembly for six years, beginning in 1978.
Issues: Abortion rights--opposes. Education voucher--opposes this proposal but advocates alternative that improves access for low-income students and targets low performing schools. Health care plan--opposes, but favors coordinated effort with worker compensation reform. Gay rights--opposes. Welfare plan--supports. Gnatcatcher--opposes, but favors a broader study of all potential endangered species.
Dorianne Garcia: DEMOCRAT
Occupation: Communications specialist
Background: Vice president of the Democratic Women of Orange County. Member of the Orange County Democratic Latino Caucus and vice chairwoman of the California Democratic Party Latino Caucus. Member of the California Democratic Party Central Committee.
Issues: Abortion rights--supports. Education voucher--opposes. Health care plan--supports. Gay rights--supports. Welfare plan--opposes, but feels some reform may be needed. Gnatcatcher--supports.
Eric Sprik: LIBERTARIAN
Home: Costa Mesa
Occupation: Dry cleaner
Background: Unsuccessful candidate in the 1991 special election to fill an unexpired term in state's 35th Senate District. Has supported the Libertarian Party for 10 years. President of the Costa Mesa chapter of the National Rifle Assn.
Issues: Abortion rights--supports individual rights. Education voucher--supports with goal to completely privatize educational system. Health care plan--opposes. Gay rights--opposes legislation because homosexuals should not be treated differently from other groups. Welfare plan--supports. Gnatcatcher--opposes.