Calif. candidate urged to exit race
By PETER PRENGAMAN, Associated Press Writer
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – Orange County Republican leaders on Thursday called for the withdrawal of a GOP congressional candidate they believe sent a letter threatening Hispanic immigrant voters with arrest.
Tan D. Nguyen denied knowing anything about the letter in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, but said he fired a campaign staffer who may have been responsible for it.
County Republican Chairman Scott Baugh, however, said that after speaking with state investigators and the company that distributed the mailer, he believes Nguyen had direct knowledge of ‘obnoxious and reprehensible’ letter. He told the AP that the party’s executive committee voted unanimously to Nguyen to drop out of the race against Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
‘I learned information that allows me to draw the conclusion that not only was Mr. Nguyen’s campaign involved in this, but that Mr. Nguyen was personally involved in expediting the mailer,’ Baugh said in a telephone interview.
State and federal officials were investigating the letter, which was written in Spanish and mailed to an estimated 14,000 Democratic voters in central Orange County. It warns, ‘You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time.’
This is not the county’s first dispute over alleged intimidation of Hispanic voters. In 1988, Republican Assembly candidate Curt Pringle posted uniformed “security guards” at 20 predominantly Hispanic voting places in Orange County.
Republicans said the guards were stationed to prevent noncitizens from casting ballots. Pringle and the county GOP paid $400,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit alleging intimidation of Hispanic voters.”