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Candidates Gear Up for 67th Assembly Vote

TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

The campaign for a special state Assembly election next week turned toward the home stretch Thursday with Democrat Greg Ramsay charging his opponent with racism and Republican Mickey Conroy holding a GOP unity dinner.

Conroy, an advocate for veterans affairs in Santa Ana, also underscored his conservative niche in the Republican Party by authoring a resolution denouncing recent actions by Gov. Pete Wilson.

Under Conroy’s proposal, to be considered at the state GOP convention which starts today in Anaheim, the state Republican Party would support an attempt to repeal the tax increases that Wilson passed in the state budget last summer.

“The survivability of our party lies with opposing tax increases,” Conroy said. “Being anti-tax is the only way we can ever become the majority party.”

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Conroy and Ramsay are the only two candidates in Tuesday’s special election to replace former Assemblyman John R. Lewis (R-Orange), who was elected last May to the state Senate. The 67th Assembly District stretches from Silverado Canyon in the east to Orange in the west, and from Yorba Linda in the north to El Toro in the south.

The district is the second-most Republican Assembly seat in California, so Conroy is a heavy favorite to win the election Tuesday. Conroy defeated five other Republican candidates in June to earn his spot in Tuesday’s runoff.

Ramsay, a health-care manager, held a press conference Thursday outside of Conroy’s campaign headquarters to criticize the Republican for not being more supportive of education. He also charged that statements Conroy recently made in The Times were racist.

Conroy was quoted as saying that minorities should not describe themselves as “hyphenated Americans.”

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“You want to be an American, be an American. You want to be a Mexican, go back to Mexico,” Conroy said.

At his press conference, Ramsay responded: “What we are going to do is stand up to such bigots as Mickey Conroy and prevent them from attaining public office.”

Conroy attended a fund-raiser Thursday night that was sponsored by most of the major Republican leaders in Orange County, including his closest opponent in the primary, Orange Councilman William G. Steiner. The event also included all four of the county’s Republican state senators and all six Republican Assembly members.

“This is an opportunity for the whole Republican community to come together behind the party’s nominee,” said Greg Haskin, executive director of the county GOP. “It’s a traditional thing in Orange County when we’ve had a contested primary.”

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