Bush campaign steps up in state

The Associated Press
Friday October 27, 2000

SACRAMENTO — With California up for grabs, George W. Bush doubled his advertising effort and announced a campaign swing with one-time rival John McCain, while Gov. Gray Davis packed his bags for a week of barnstorming for Al Gore and other Democrats. 

Heartened by California polls showing Gore’s lead narrowing to 5 to 7 percentage points, the GOP presidential nominee is making an aggressive final push on the airwaves, and returning for a campaign visit Monday and Tuesday. 

Bush will air two ads, one in Spanish and English targeting Hispanics and the other in English saying he trusts individuals more than Gore. They will total about $2 million through Election Day. 

On top of that, Republicans will spend about $6 million in California between now and Nov. 7 on a series of Bush ads, including one in Spanish. 

“We are committed to winning California, and he is willing to put his time and the money on the line to win,” said Bush California campaign chairman Gerry Parsky. 

Gore has spent nothing on TV ads, and he has not visited the state since Sept. 20, though he also faces a challenge from Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. Gore has no plans to return before Election Day. 

But Gore is getting help on two fronts in the homestretch. President Clinton will campaign here late next week, and Davis plans to hopscotch the state for at least seven days beginning Sunday. 

Some Democrats have grumbled privately that Davis has done too little for Gore. The governor is California chairman of Gore’s campaign, and Garry South, an adviser to both, said electing Gore would be Davis’ “number one political priority in 2000.” 

Since the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Davis has done little publicly to promote Gore. He swung into action this week, touting Gore in TV interviews, but only when three Republican governors campaigned in Sacramento for Bush. 

Told of the criticism, Davis said in an interview: “I beg to differ.” 

“I’ve been working for Al Gore for a year and a half,” Davis said. 

He waited until the week before the election to actively stump for Gore because “turnout is everything,” he said. 

Both Clinton and Davis enjoy high approval ratings in California, and they are likely to appear together.