THE 30 SECOND CANDIDATE HISTORICAL TIMELINEFROM IDEA TO ADTRICKS OF THE TRADEQ_AND_ATHE TELEVISION PROGRAM
Wisconsin Public Television
     

         
1998  
   
   

In the California Democratic primary race for Governor, wealthy candidates Al Checchi and Jane Harman spent unprecedented sums on television advertising.

When Checchi and Harman attacked each other in ads, voters turned to the third candidate, Lt. Governor Gray Davis.

Also in California, candidates Lois Capps and Tom Bordanaro competed in a special election for a House seat from the Santa Barbara area. The candidates' ads competed for attention with ads produced by outside interest groups. Pro-life, pro-choice, and congressional term limits supporters all used advertising to get their issues before the voters and influence the election.

   
       
   


READ THE EXPERTS' ANALYSIS OF WHAT HAPPENED IN CALIFORNIA

Alex Castellanos
Jeff Greenfield
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Bob Squier

 

   
   
JAMIESON: The interesting claim in California, however, isn't simply that the candidate who wins is experienced, but that it's experience that money can't buy. Because the implication is that first, he's not bought and paid for, but secondly, that the candidate who's spending a lot of money in the race has actually purchased access to the electorate and doesn't have the standing to really be there. And that's an interesting claim in an environment in which we're debating campaign finance reform. And putting those together is something that apparently hasn't happened.

The other thing that's interesting about the California race is that it reminds us that when you've got multiple candidates in a race, the dynamic of the race changes. If you only have two contenders, then when one person attacks the other person there's no possible third beneficiary. But when you've got multiple candidates, one candidate can attack another, hurt the person who is attacked, hurt himself for attacking, and a third candidate who hasn't been attacked or counter-attacked can gain from the fact that those candidates are now identified as engaging in a kind of destructive politics. And Gray Davis was the beneficiary of an attack war among the other candidates. In effect, he became the nominee of his party because until too late in the game the other candidates didn't recognize that he was worthy of attack.

 

   

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