Duties include the largely ceremonial task of presiding over the state Senate, replacing the governor in the chief executive's absence, chairing an economic development commission, and service on a variety of boards and commissions, including the UC Board of Regents and the State Lands Commission. Salary: $90,000 a year.
There is a tight race between the two Republican nominees, state Sen. Cathie Wright of Simi Valley and Assemblyman Stan Statham of Oak Run.
Democrat Gray Davis, the state controller, does not face a serious challenge.
All three say they would boost the profile of the state's No. 2 job. Statham is known for his proposal to split up California. He favors abortion rights, while Wright is strongly anti-abortion.
The GOP primary could be a replay of 1990, when state Sen. Marian Bergeson of Newport Beach, strongly anti-abortion, defeated Sen. John Seymour of Anaheim, who supported abortion rights. In the general election, Bergeson lost to Democrat Leo T. McCarthy, who is retiring. In recent years, the job has not been a springboard to higher office.
* Age: 55
* Residence: Redding
* Current position: Assembly member
* Education: Attended Cal State Chico
* Career highlights: Statham, an 18-year legislator and former TV news anchorman and radio disc jockey, is considered a moderate who splits with his more conservative GOP colleagues. Despite his seniority, Statham has exerted little influence in the Assembly, but in recent years he has attracted notice for his quixotic crusade to divide California into three states.
* Family: Married, two children
* Age: 64
* Residence: Simi Valley
* Current Position: State senator
* Education: Community college degree
* Career highlights: Wright, an anti-tax, pro-business conservative, wants to become the state's first female lieutenant governor. She was elected to the Simi Valley City Council in 1978 and two years later stepped up to the state Assembly, where she served until her election in 1992 to the Senate. She takes credit for sponsoring a pilot program to reform mental health programs for children. She was an insurance underwriter before launching her political career.
* Family: Widow, one child