Just when you wondered whether the special runoff election between Janice Hahn and Craig Huey could get any more contentious ... it has.
Both sides came out swinging Thursday. Her campaign launched a new TV spot charging that the Republican businessman helped his marketing clients rip off senior citizens with investment schemes and phony cures for Alzheimer’s, while one of his supporters filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing the Democratic Los Angeles city councilwoman of violating campaign laws in her automated phone calls to voters.
Huey and Hahn are vying in the July 12 election to fill the 36th Congressional District seat left vacant by the February resignation of then-Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice).
Since the two topped a 16-candidate field in May to win spots on the runoff ballot, the campaigns have grown increasingly contentious. She says his views against abortion and his other opinions make him too extreme for the strongly Democratic, largely coastal district, which runs from Venice to San Pedro. He says she's a "career politician" who played fast and loose with the taxpayers' money.
One of Hahn's campaign strategists, Joe Trippi, highlighted the TV ad by linking to it in a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post.
"Scheme after scheme. An extreme agenda," Trippi wrote. "That's Craig Huey's way of doing business and politics. And our new ad lays it out."
In his written complaint to the FEC, Redondo Beach resident William Schmidt said the Hahn campaign violated disclosure laws by making automated telephone calls to voters without including the required identification of who paid for the calls. In the message, a woman who identified herself as a Republican criticized Huey and urged a vote for Hahn.
The Huey campaign noted that Hahn was fined $500 in connection with her 2009 City Council reelection campaign after failing to provide the city, as required, with a copy of the script for an automated campaign phone message.