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Senate-candidate debates galore

Political Landscape

March 23, 2006|By Alicia Robinson

It's tough to be a Republican in Sacramento, but Assemblyman Tom Harman on Wednesday faced a battle in his own district.

State Senate candidates Tom Harman and Diane Harkey, a Dana Point City Councilwoman, squared off for the third time in a week, this time at a GOP event on Harman's home turf, Huntington Beach.

As at earlier events, Harman touted his elected experience on the City Council and in the Assembly, and Harkey said she'd use her business background and take a fiscally conservative approach to the state Senate.

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Audience questions seemed to fall heavily on Harman ? one person asked who has endorsed each candidate, and Harkey was able to say confidently, "There's not too many who haven't."

Some of her endorsements are from Reps. John Campbell, Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce, the Orange County chapter of the Lincoln Club and four of Orange County's five supervisors.

Harman, on the other hand, claims the support of 11 Assembly colleagues, four state senators, and Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Sullivan. He also had to explain why he voted for an Assembly bill that granted in-state tuition to illegal immigrants under certain conditions, but he was quick to point out Rep. Campbell, while in the Assembly, had voted for the same bill.

The experience left some audience members with a clear idea of whom they'll vote for.

Ellen Fox of Garden Grove said she thought Harkey won the debate.

"She was dealing with the issues; he was defending his record," Fox said.

Larry Gallop of Huntington Beach saw it another way.

"I like Tom Harman because he has more experience, and experience is needed in Sacramento today because of the budget impasse" and other issues, Gallop said.

NEWPORT COMPANY MAY HAVE BROKEN FINANCE RULES

Newport Beach company CHG Safety Technologies may have broken state campaign finance rules in 2000 when it had its investors give money to the campaign of Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, according to a document filed Wednesday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission. The commission has not officially ruled on the findings, but in the filing commission executive director Mark Krausse said he had "probable cause" to believe CHG violated the law.

CHG attorney John Gladych said company officials were "bamboozled" by a lobbyist, who told them to have investors write checks to Carona's campaign as a way to advance legislation that would create demand for the company's product. The lobbyist is not named in the commission's findings.

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