Tags: Simon | Catches | Riordan

Simon Catches Up to Riordan

Saturday, 23 February 2002 12:00 AM

Simon's recent surge in the polls continued in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times survey. It gave the southern California businessman 31 percent of the vote, the same percentage of votes as Riordan, who has been the front-runner since the race began and who has had the edge over incumbent Democrat Gov. Gray Davis in some polls as well.

Undecided voters were pegged at 22 percent. California Secretary of State Bill Jones appeared stuck at around 14 percent with the March 5 primary less than a week away.

The newspaper's January poll had Riordan with 34 percent of the vote to Simon's 20 percent and Jones' 16 percent.

According to the Simon campaign, columnist Robert Novak reported a Jim Moore poll on national TV that showed Simon at 36 percent, Riordan at 27 percent and Jones at 22 percent, and predicted that Simon would win the nomination.

Simon appeared to begin making up ground on Riordan as the campaign began to take on a testier tone in three debates and in television advertising campaigns in which Simon and Jones have challenged Riordan's aid to Democrat candidates, including Gov. Gray Davis, and soft stand on abortion.

A Simon television ad being aired around the state says Riordan is an admirer of Bill Clinton, much to the seeming dismay of an appalled Simon, who touts Presidents Reagan and Bush as his role models.

"This ad shows that while Bill Simon is busy running against Gray Davis, Dick Riordan is busy running against the Republican Party," Simon's consultant, Sal Russo, said in a press release. "In our focus groups, when Republican voters learn that Dick Riordan loves Bill Clinton, they leave faster than the poor urban tenants Riordan summarily evicted to open his restaurant."

Riordan, who owns the landmark Pantry restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, has also been pinged by the Davis camp in ads alleging that he is anti-abortion. The situation has forced Riordan into a position of having to state he is "personally” against abortion but supports its continued legalization.

Some of the 1,398 registered voters surveyed by the Times over Feb. 20-24 agreed that Riordan was beginning to appear to be more liberal than they liked. Others agreed with Riordan's ads questioning Simon's ability to beat Davis and handle "California's toughest job."

"I support Riordan because he was mayor of a large city," declared Allen Clark, 81, of Sacramento. "I just feel he's more experienced."

Donna Reich, 64, of San Francisco told the newspaper she found Simon's lack of political experience and baggage refreshing.

"He just comes across to me as sincere and not too political," Reich said.

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Simon's recent surge in the polls continued in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times survey. It gave the southern California businessman 31 percent of the vote, the same percentage of votes as Riordan, who has been the front-runner since the race began and who has had the edge over...
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2002-00-23
Saturday, 23 February 2002 12:00 AM
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