Matt Fong has an unexpected background for a Republican: experience as campaign manager for one of California's longest-established Democratic officeholders.

The officeholder was Fong's mother, March Fong Eu, who served as secretary of state from 1975 until her appointment as ambassador to Micronesia early this year. Her son joined the Republicans in 1988 and became a candidate in his own right when he ran against Gray Davis for state controller in 1990. Fong lost, but Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to the state Board of Equalization the next year, and Fong's colleagues elected him vice chairman of the board in December 1992. He is running for treasurer after winning his party's June primary without any opposition.

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