Campbell goes dark a week before the primary


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With a week before the primary, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell has pulled his television advertising and is relying on web ads and telephone calls to drive his message to likely Republican voters.

The decision to go dark -- Tuesday was his last day on the air, for now -- creates enormous hurdles for the former Congressman at a time when his chief rival, Carly Fiorina, has lent several million dollars to her campaign and shot ahead in the polls in what had once been a close race.


After a push to reach voters through several weeks of ads on cable and broadcast channels, Fiorina led Campbell 38% to 23% in the new Los Angeles Times/USC poll. The poll showed Assemblyman Chuck DeVore of Irvine pulling in 16% of the vote.

Campbell’s precarious financial position was evident in the most recent round of campaign finance reports. Though Campbell raised more money than Fiorina in the period between April 1 and May 19, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive lent her campaign an additional $3 million in the past few weeks, bringing her total personal contributions to $5.5 million.

Campbell spokesman Jamie Fisfis said the campaign is making “day-to-day decisions on how to spend our money” and plans to target many likely Republican voters with automated calls Thursday offering a live telephone question-and-answer session with the candidate.

“It’s a question of how we get our message out. TV isn’t always the most efficient,” Fisfis said Tuesday, adding that when an ad runs in Los Angeles, as many as two-thirds of those who see it may not vote in the Republican primary.

“We don’t have the money that Carly has,” he said. “They may have the luxury of dealing with the waste of network television. But we have to be much more efficient.”

-- Maeve Reston in Los Angeles