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C-SPAN video of the Oct. 15 debate, the Sept. 23 debate and the Aug. 18 debate (RealVideo required)

California Governor

Filing Deadline: Feb. 4
Primary: June 2
Primary Results

Nov. 4, 1998 — Lt. Gov. Gray Davis claimed the governorship for Democrats for the first time in 16 years, defeating Attorney General Dan Lungren (R). With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Davis won 58 percent of the vote to Lungren's 38 percent.

In his quest for voters happy with California's economic conditions, Davis played up his tenure as lieutenant governor. His reputation as a vociferous fund-raiser didn't hurt in the nation's largest state, with its expensive media markets.

Issues: Lungren heavily pushed his record on crime in the gubernatorial debates, and Davis focused on issues including abortion, guns and the environment. Lungren's anti-marijuana crusade played to a mixed crowd in a state where medicinal marijuana clubs existed for more than two decades. Davis portrayed Lungren as more conservative than most California voters and outgoing Gov. Pete Wilson.

Polls: A Los Angeles Times poll conducted Oct. 11-13 showed Davis with 48 percent and Lungren with 42 percent. A Field Poll conducted Oct. 22-27 showed Davis with 53 percent and Lungren with 39 percent. Another survey, conducted Oct. 26-28 by Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research, showed Davis with 50 percent, Lungren with 43 percent and 7 percent undecided.

Advertising: Both candidates unleashed a barrage of advertising, criticizing one another on abortion, crime and the death penalty. Both Lungren and Davis released Spanish-language ads in October in an effort to court Latino voters.

Fund-Raising: According to finance reports, Davis spent $10.4 million in the first half of October, and had $2.8 million left for the final two weeks of the race. Lungren spent $4.9 million during the same time, and had $4.2 million on hand.

— Lisa Todorovich,

Lisa Todorovich can be reached at

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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