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ELECTIONS / ASSEMBLY 37th DISTRICT : Braly Apologizes for Saying He Had Group’s Endorsement

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Assembly candidate Hunt Braly apologized Friday for claiming in campaign literature that he was endorsed by a Republican abortion-rights group that does not make political endorsements.

In a May 16 letter to Braly, California Republicans for Choice urged him to “correct the misinterpretation” in two brochures Braly recently mailed to 37th Assembly District voters that said the group had endorsed him.

Braly, an aide to state Sen. Ed Davis (R-Santa Clarita), is battling antiabortion Assemblywoman Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) for the GOP nomination in the June 5 primary election.

The Republican-dominated district sprawls from northern and western Los Angeles County through portions of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

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In one of his brochures, Braly listed several endorsements, including Republicans for Choice.

In an accompanying letter, he wrote: “If Cathie Wright is reelected, she and other extremists will continue in their effort to destroy the reproductive rights of women in California.”

Braly said he will respect the group’s wishes and refrain from mentioning it in future mailings.

But he insisted that the matter was a “minor technical problem” related to his endorsement by the group’s parent organization, the California Republican League, a volunteer group that represents the GOP’s moderate wing.

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Harriet Stinson, an executive committee member of California Republicans for Choice, said the 2,000-member group is an educational organization and does not endorse political candidates.

“I don’t know how it happened,” Stinson said of Braly’s endorsement claim. “I don’t claim it’s some great plot. . . . People just don’t hear things they don’t want to hear sometimes.”

Braly said he was under the impression that he had the abortion-rights group’s endorsement after he won the endorsement of the California Republican League.

Republicans for Choice describes itself as a task force of the league.

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“It doesn’t change the central issue. Am I a pro-choice Republican? Absolutely,” Braly said.

Mark Thompson, Wright’s campaign manager, charged that the episode shows “there are so many half-truths” in Braly’s campaign.

“He used an endorsement he shouldn’t use,” Thompson said.

Braly took the opportunity to criticize a Wright supporter, conservative Assemblyman Bill Baker (R-Danville), for a recent letter he wrote to a Washington, D.C.-based antiabortion group, urging it to contribute campaign money to Wright.

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Baker described Braly as an arch liberal and said he is making a strong challenge to Wright.

“Assemblyman Baker is arguing that it is impossible to be a good Republican and believe in a woman’s right to choose whether or not she should have an abortion,” Braly said.

“I find that offensive and I think most Republicans in the 37th District will also.”


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