Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (FMM&A) enjoyed an extraordinary day of success on Tuesday, helping to guide some of the most important election campaigns in the country, including the election of Gray Davis as California’s first Democratic governor in 16 years and only the fourth this century. FMM&A also helped secure the re-election of Senators Patty Murray and Harry Reid, both on the short list of incumbents targeted by the national Republican Party in their unsuccessful attempt to broaden their majority. In addition, FMM&A helped guide a historic and overwhelming ballot victory for California’s Proposition 5, the Indian casino gaming initiative, and an apparent upset victory for Proposition 10, the tobacco tax for children services initiative, which currently leads with only absentee ballots remaining to be counted.
- FMM&A is particularly proud of Gray Davis’ stunning victory in the California governor’s race. Early in the year, Davis was last in the polls and was dismissed by observers who believed he had little chance of defeating his better-funded opponents. In the end, Davis overcame combined spending of $90 million by his primary and general election oppositions, the most spent in any gubernatorial campaign in American history. Davis’ dramatic 20-point general election win over Dan Lungren was by far the largest margin of victory in any open race for governor in California history.
- Davis’ victory over Lungren, widely seen as a rising star in Republican politics, is a testament to the skill and discipline of Gray Davis and his campaign. The campaign consistently and relentlessly stressed mainstream issues such as preserving a woman’s right to choose, enforcing the ban on assault weapons, protecting the environment, cracking down on tobacco companies, and improving California’s schools. Davis’ victory helped propel winning efforts by most of the statewide Democratic ticket, including Cruz Bustamante, Phil Angelides, and Michela Alioto (who trails incumbent Secretary of State Bill Jones by one percentage with absentee ballots still to count). In addition to providing voter opinion research and strategic consulting for all of these campaigns, FMM&A conducted tracking polls for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.
- FMM&A also continued its long history of successfully advising statewide ballot measure campaigns:
Proposition 5, a measure establishing the legal structure for Indian casino gaming in California, won a resounding victory despite facing long odds. Supporters of the measure were advised by some not to put it on the ballot, given the vast resources that Nevada casinos would devote to its defeat. However, our early voter opinion research showed that this measure had a chance to win, and a creative and determined campaign eventually won the measure with nearly two-thirds of the vote.
While the outcome remains uncertain, FMM&A also provided substantial guidance to the effort to pass California’s Proposition 10, which would tax tobacco products to fund increased services for children. The measure actually gained support in the campaign’s waning days, counter to the usual pattern for ballot measures.
FMM&A also played a significant role in defeating Proposition 9, an effort to unravel California’s complex electric utility deregulation law, and in several successful initiative campaigns to allow the medicinal use of marijuana.
- FMM&A also contributed to big wins in some of the most closely-watched U.S. Senate and Congressional races in the nation, as well as a landmark mayoral contest:
In Nevada, Harry Reid overcame a Republican advantage in party registration and millions of dollars in negative advertising from the national Republican Party to fend off a challenge from Las Vegas Rep. John Ensign.
In Washington state, Sen. Patty Murray also retained her seat, winning by a landslide despite being targeted as one of the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats in the Senate.
Rep. Ellen Tauscher withstood a half million dollars in negative television advertising to retain her seat in one of California’s key swing districts.
FMM&A also helped five other California Congressional incumbents hold their seats and guided Grace Napolitano to an open-seat victory in California’s 34th Congressional District.
FMM&A provided voter opinion research and strategic consulting to Ron Gonzales in his successful bid for mayor of San José, California. Gonzales becomes San José’s first mayor of Latino heritage since the Mexican alcaldes of the 1840s. His campaign provides a model for successful Latino candidacies where Latinos comprise only a small fraction of the electorate.
Among the FMM&A clients who won victories during the 1998 election cycle were the following (challengers and open seats are in italics):
|Ron Gonzales||Mayor (San José)|
|Tom Daly||Mayor (Anaheim)|
|Lee Baca||Sheriff (LA County)|
|Sarah Reyes||AD 31 (CA)|
|Herb Wesson||AD 47 (CA)|
|Prop MM||San Diego USD|
|Prop JJ||Chula Vista ESD|
|Measure R||Conejo Valley USD|
|George Brown||CD 42 (CA)|
|Cal Dooley||CD 20 (CA)|
|Sam Farr||CD 17 (CA)|
|Bob Filner||CD 50 (CA)|
|Janice Hahn*||CD 36 (CA)|
|Grace Napolitano||CD 34 (CA)|
|Brad Sherman||CD 24 (CA)|
|Ellen Tauscher||CD 10 (CA)|
|No on Prop 300 & 301||AZ|
|Yes on Prop 304||AZ|
|No on Prop 226||CA|
|Yes on Prop 1A||CA|
|Yes on Prop 5||CA|
|No on Prop 8||CA|
|No on Prop 9||CA|
|Yes on Prop 10||CA|
|Yes on Question 9||NV|
|Yes on 67 & No on 57||WA|
|Yes on I-692||WA|