With five days to go before the too-close-to-call special U.S. House election in California’s 50th District (San Diego), Republicans were rocked last week with a hard-hitting denunciation of their nominee, Brian Bilbray from a fellow Republican.
"I proudly swore an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of California and the United States," Steve Baldwin, a former state assemblyman from San Diego and longtime conservative activist, wrote in an e-mail to fellow GOP activists in the 50th District, "That’s why I’m appalled and deeply saddened to learn that Brian Bilbray is making a mockery of his oath to his fellow citizens (an oath that’s taken with one hand on the Bible)."
Baldwin, who served in the state legislature from 1994-2000, cited in his letter reports from Channel 10 (San Diego) of allegations of perjury and voter fraud against Bilbray, who represented the neighboring district to the 50th from 1994-2000. Bilbray, according to Baldwin’s letter, "claims a home in Alexandria, Virginia as his primary residence for tax purposes. Bilbray also claims a home in Imperial Beach as his primary residence for tax purposes. Of course, Mr. Bilbray says that ‘I live in Carlsbad, taking care of my mother.’ He says that he has lived there since March 2005."
The former legislator went on to note reports from Channel 10 and published reports that neighbors claim while he does come to visit his mother, Bilbray doesn’t live there. A next door neighbor to Bilbray’s mother who didn’t want his name used, according to the Baldwin letter, "wondered when people would catch on that Bilbray does not live there."
When I asked Baldwin about the hard-hitting e-mail, he said that he is supporting Bill Hauf, a conservative businessman who is opposing Bilbray for nomination for the full term in the June 6th primary. The race to fill the remainder of the term of disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R.-Calif.), in which Bilbray faces Democrat Francine Busby, is being held the same day 50th District Republicans select a nominee for the full term in November.
Baldwin said he is backing Hauf over Bilbray for nomination for the full term and takes no side in the race in which moderate former Rep. Bilbray faces a tough challenge from Busby. In his words, "I’m trying hard to help Bill win the primary, but it’s hard to help him without somehow affecting the special election."
National Republicans are increasingly worried about retaining the 50th District in the special election. More than 100 volunteers have been flown into the district to help voter turnout by the Republican National Committee and a special committee of the California GOP is mobilizing 40-to-50 volunteers to help Bilbray.