News

Ethnic tensions mark Democratic primaries

Political mailers bankrolled by the Latino Caucus, which linked Democratic
Assembly candidate Paul Krekorian to a terrorist and played the race card
against Democratic contender Mike Eng, are being denounced by community
leaders and Caucus members who say they want to know who approved the
attacks.

Capitol sources said that the job of the vice chairman of the Latino Caucus,
Assemblyman Joe Coto, D-San Jose, may be on the line.

Several Caucus members met Tuesday across the street from the Capitol at
private offices in the 11th and L Building to discuss the mailers, which
were funded with independent-expenditure (IE) money. They are trying to
figure out how to limit political fallout from some of the nastiest hit
pieces in this year’s primary campaign.

“It’s an affront to us, especially because we for so long have been the
victims of this kind of crap,” said Assemblyman Hector De La Torre,
D-Southgate. He and Assemblyman Albert Torrico, D-Newark, have launched an
investigation into the flyers.

A mailer aimed at Paul Krekorian blasts his endorsement from the Armenian
National Committee (ANC), insinuating that the group is allied with
suspected terrorists. But critics say the ANC is a mainstream group, and the
mailer unfairly attacks Armenians. In Assembly District 49, white and Latino
voters received a mailer listing Mike Eng’s Asian endorsers, with the tag
line: “Mike Eng. He’s not like us.”

Both Krekorian and Eng faced competitive primaries against candidates backed
by the Latino Caucus. Krekorian defeated Glendale Councilman Frank Quintero.
Eng defeated Alhambra City Councilman Dan Arguello.

During the 2004 election cycle, it was the Latino Caucus blasting the
Republican Party and the Chamber of Commerce-backed JobsPAC for hit pieces
they said had racist overtones. Among them was a Republican Party-funded
mail piece used against Juan Arambula in the closing days of the 2004
campaign.

At the time, Speaker Fabian N


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