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Previewing California's 36th District Special Election Previewing California's 36th District Special Election

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Previewing California's 36th District Special Election


Harman: ‘I intend to keep contributing.’(Liz Lynch)

Her other ads followed suit. One compared Huey to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for his calls to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and also claiming one of Huey's marketing clients had tried to scam seniors as part of a direct mail scheme. "I just wanted to make sure people understood how extreme he was," Hahn told Hotline On Callin an interview two weeks ago. "I saw a possibility to define him to the voters." Democrats' main worry is that the base won't turn out in a non-regularly scheduled contest. Meanwhile, Huey's GOP supporters appear energized. Both campaigns have focused on GOTV efforts in the final days. This past weekend, former President Bill Clinton even recorded a robocall for Hahn, who has also received phone-banking help from Obama for America. Meanwhile, Huey was offering to bus volunteers from anywhere in the state to help him out this past weekend. The Infamous Web Ad: The hostility in the race took a turn for the worst a month ago when a conservative super PAC, Turn Right USA, released a web ad highlighting Hahn's work with a controversial city gang intervention program. The ad -- which features a stripper dancing on a poll, and a rap refrain that continues: "Give me your cash b--ch so we can shoot up the street" -- said Hahn "hired hardcore gang members with taxpayer money to be gang intervention specialists." Democratic groups were quick to call the ad racist and sexist, and Huey also denounced the ad. But after discovering a former vendor of Huey's had the same address as the PAC, which sprung up just before the spot went up, they filed an Federal Election Commission complaint. Huey has continued to insist there was no coordination, and says the ad even hurt his campaign and energized Hahn's donors and her base. But the questions over Hahn's work with the gang intervention group haven't gone away. Huey's campaign went door-to-door to distribute DVD copies of the original local news report from three years ago that was the basis for the ad. Independent fact-check groups, meanwhile had called the first news report inaccurate. But the same Fox 11 station ran a 9-minute follow-up report on the issue again last week, saying they continue to stand by their reporting, and even went ahead with the broadcast despite a cease and desist letter from Hahn's attorneys. That wasn't the only laywer that got involved in the campaign's waning days - this weekend, Huey's ex-wife served him with a subpoena for back child support payments - which Huey's campaign has said was orchestrated by Hahn's campaign. What To Watch: Hahn is still the odds-on favorite, but if the race is tight, look for Republicans to say that the Democratic base wasn't behind Hahn, even as the GOP plan to revamp Medicare remains in the forefront of the political conversation. Republicans will also likely argue that that Huey's economic message, particularly amid the debt ceiling battle, resonated with independent voters. Still, if turnout is low, given how personal the race has become, the real conclusion may be that concern over the issues became secondary to voters' disillusionment with the candidates and their barbs.

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