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GOP leader urges Prop. 8 author to exit Assembly race

August 1, 2012 |  7:05 pm

Andy Pugno
Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway is urging donors in the Sacramento suburbs to push the author of Proposition 8 out of a heated Assembly race and rally around the GOP incumbent.

In a letter to donors this week, Conway said Andy Pugno, author of the ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California, was breaking his pledge not to campaign against the top GOP voter-getter in the June primary, Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Rocklin), and mounting an "expensive and counter-productive campaign" against the incumbent.

"I hope you will join me in urging Andy Pugno to keep his pledge and suspend his campaign, so we can all come together and concentrate on restoring conservative leadership to the state," she wrote.

Pugno did not return a call for comment. He told the Sacramento Bee on Wednesday that Conway's plea was "a blunder that highlights they've lost touch with real people who are sick and tired of business as usual." Pugno told the newspaper that, despite his previous pledge, he had not yet decided whether to run against Gaines in November.

The June primary turned into a conservative purity contest, with Pugno vowing to fight what he characterized as the relentless efforts of the liberal Legislature to undermine the people's vote against gay marriage.

In her appeal to donors this week, Conway noted that Gaines was dedicated to "upholding policies that promote strong families" and voted against a bill that requires the teaching of gay history in public schools.


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-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento


Photo: Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Yes on Proposition 8 Campaign, responds to a question during a news conference in Sacramento in 2009. Credit: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli