Money, accusations fly in local congressional race | SierraSun.com

Money, accusations fly in local congressional race

Erica Werner
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) ” Democratic candidate Charlie Brown has a substantial cash advantage over GOP state Sen. Tom McClintock going into the final days of their hot contest in California’s 4th Congressional District, according to new campaign finance reports.

Brown is also getting a big boost from the House Democratic campaign committee, which this week pumped more than $280,000 into the Northern California race to pay for TV ads and mailers opposing McClintock.

McClintock is expected to get more modest help from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is cash-strapped compared to its Democratic counterpart.

The Republican committee plans to help McClintock buy TV ads in the final week of the campaign, said NRCC spokeswoman Karen Hanretty. But election rules will limit that spending to a maximum of $84,000.

In Federal Election Commission reports filed Thursday night, Brown reported having nearly $225,000 cash on hand as of Oct. 15, while McClintock had just over $66,000.

The two are vying to replace Republican Rep. John Doolittle, who’s retiring amid a lobbying scandal. He nearly lost to Brown two years ago.

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The district, which stretches north and east from Sacramento, is heavily Republican, and McClintock is well-known from campaigning as a staunch fiscal conservative in a series of unsuccessful statewide races. But the campaign appears to be competitive as the Nov. 4 election nears.

Overall, McClintock has raised much more money than Brown ” $2.78 million, compared to Brown’s $1.97 million.

And McClintock has continued to bring in money at a faster clip than Brown since the Oct. 15 reporting deadline. But he has also spent more, doling out large sums to political consultants and others.

McClintock’s campaign reported debts of $125,000; Brown’s debt stood at $54,000.

Meanwhile, the campaigns are trading accusations on various fronts.

The new TV ad paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee portrays McClintock, who represents a Southern California state Senate district, as a career politician traveling California in search of his next job.

McClintock is attacking Brown in recorded “robo-calls” seeking to link the Democrat to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. The calls contend that Brown, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, would support increased federal spending.

“You know me. For years I’ve battled for fiscal sanity in California. I’ll wage the same fight in Washington,” McClintock says in the calls that reached district voters Wednesday evening.

Brown’s campaign said the calls were inaccurate and claimed McClintock’s campaign failed to include a legally required disclaimer stating who paid for them. McClintock’s spokesman, Bill George, denied that.

A recording of a robo-call that Brown spokesman Todd Stenhouse said was left on the campaign’s voicemail did not have a disclaimer, and two district supporters the Brown campaign made available both said they got McClintock’s call without the required disclaimer.

Hank Raymond of South Lake Tahoe allowed a reporter to listen to his voicemail and there was not a disclaimer at the end of the call.

However, in an audio of the call provided by McClintock’s campaign, there was a disclaimer, and the campaign said that version was sent out.

On another issue, Brown media consultant Eric Jaye said the Brown campaign would no longer use a photo of McClintock taken by The Sacramento Bee that appeared in a Brown mailer. McClintock’s campaign had accused the Brown campaign of using that photo and another by The Associated Press without the necessary licensing.

The Bee asked the campaign not to use its photo, Jaye said. He said the campaign hasn’t heard from The Associated Press but would also honor such a request from the AP, though he said the photos were publicly available on the Internet and contended that there was no legal problem with using them.