With just a few days to go before the June 3 primary, attack mailers and apparently harassing phone calls have been lobbed in the crowded race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills).
Earlier this week, a brochure from Democrat Wendy Greuel's campaign attacking a chief rival, state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), landed in voters' mailboxes.
Referring to an FBI sting operation earlier this year that led to the indictment of state Sen. Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) on corruption charges, the mailer called Lieu "the senator in Sacramento who caved to corrupt politicians."
Lieu met with Calderon and an undercover FBI agent posing as someone who sought changes to Lieu's proposed legislation that would affect a hospital in Long Beach. Lieu dropped the legislation but has said it was only because its provisions were wrapped into a more comprehensive workers comp reform bill.
His campaign consultant, Gale Kaufman, denounced the mailer, which also criticized Lieu's trips abroad, by referring to Greuel's failed Los Angeles mayoral campaign of a year ago, saying she had attacked other candidates "with false mailers and ads."
"Now she has slandered Ted Lieu with false attacks that are based on phony press citations," Kaufman said.
Another Democratic candidate, public radio host Matt Miller, sent a mailer that broadsided Greuel over the Department of Water and Power's independent spending campaign on her behalf in the mayor's race. And it took a swipe at Lieu for taking campaign contributions from insurance companies while sitting on the Senate's insurance committee.
Lieu and Greuel are widely perceived as the front-running candidates in the 33rd Congressional District race, although most observers expect the battle for the two places on the November ballot to be very close.
Meanwhile, several supporters of another leading candidate, spiritual teacher and best-selling author Marianne Williamson, said they have been receiving anonymous harassing phone calls.
For the last two weeks, supporters of Williamson, an independent, have been called and asked whether they support Williamson. If the answer is yes, the caller hangs up and then continues to call again several times a day.
Williamson campaign spokeswoman Ileana Wachtel said the calls can be traced to a number in San Diego that belongs to a union. But the union told the Williamson campaign it has been "caller ID spoofed" and has nothing to do with the calls.
Only the top two finishers in Tuesday's primary, regardless of any party affiliation, can advance to the November general election.