Related topics

Super Tuesday Results Boost California Impact With PM-Final Tuesday

March 14, 1988

SACRAMENTO (AP) _ Super Tuesday’s muddled Democratic results could give California and at least one prominent California politician a bigger share of the political spotlight.

Since Democratic contenders Jesse Jackson, Michael Dukakis and Albert Gore Jr. emerged from the round of contests on March 8 tightly clustered in the delegate race, more attention is being paid to the late contests, such as California’s June 7 primary.

And California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, the flamboyant national chairman of Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign, is waiting in the wings for what could be a key role.

The importance and influence of Brown, the consummate deal-maker and power broker of the California Legislature over the past decade, is growing with the prospect of a brokered Democratic convention.

If Jackson ultimately falls short of winning enough delegates for nomination, every extra delegate he wins increases the chances of a deadlocked convention - and the chance that Jackson and top advisers like Brown will have a say in deciding who is the nominee.

If it comes to that, Democrats will again be facing the quandary of trying to make enough concessions to Jackson to keep his supporters while not conceding enough to alienate other constituencies - creating a situation in which Brown’s negotiating skills could be especially important.

Brown has said repeatedly that he isn’t maneuvering for a brokered convention, but rather for a Jackson victory.

″The Jackson campaign wants the nomination,″ Brown told Sacramento reporters last week. ″We may well determine the Democratic nomination with the California vote. Probably Jackson is the favorite at the moment (in California).″

But Brown’s first choice for the nomination was New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, and he signed on with Jackson only after Cuomo declined to run.

Brown has repeatedly and heatedly denied speculation that he took the Jackson campaign chairmanship to be in a position to deliver Jackson votes to Cuomo at a deadlocked convention, saying that he is supporting Jackson because he believes he is the best candidate and can win.

Brown isn’t the only California politician coming in for attention where the presidential race is concerned. California Gov. George Deukmejian is frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for the GOP nominee.

But Deukmejian has a Democratic lieutenant governor who would take over if he stepped aside. That would diminish the Republican support in California he would otherwise be expected to add to a national ticket.

Deukmejian himself has said he would ″absolutely, unequivocably, not under any circumstances″ accept the nomination.

″Even if offered the opportunity, I would not be able to do it, and I would not,″ he says.

Deukmejian refuses to speculate publicly on why he keeps being mentioned as vice presidential material when he’s made it known he’s not interested.

One of his advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity, says: ″It’s just window-dressing. They all want a Westerner on their lists, and he’s the biggest name out here. But they all know the situation, and that he’s serious when he says he isn’t available.″

Update hourly