chapter  7
The Issues
Pages 14

Elections in California have long been more focused on personalities than on issues, and the recall election of 2003 was no exception. The tradition of personality politics in California goes back to Hiram Johnson, the governor who introduced direct democracy. Then, from the 1930s onward, when Democrats had gained a majority among registered voters, Republican candidates for governor still managed to win elections by shifting the focus to personality over party. Republican Earl Warren, most famously, was elected three times. Ronald Reagan won twice. Despite their majority, Democrats elected only four governors in the twentieth century. Two of them were Pat Brown and his son Jerry, both strong personalities.