SACRAMENTO — Rep. Bobbi Fiedler and state Sen. Ed Davis made their first joint campaign appearance Wednesday since Fiedler was indicted Jan. 23 and found themselves under attack by a fellow candidate for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.
Assemblyman Robert Naylor of Menlo Park, who earlier this week told Davis and Fiedler that they should quit the Senate race, renewed his criticism on Wednesday at a meeting of the California Agricultural Leadership Associates, where Davis and Fiedler were present.
If defeating Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston is the goal of agriculture in 1986, Naylor said, "then you need a candidate who can beat him and I have to say to my colleagues in this race, Ed Davis and Bobbi Fiedler, that . . . the truth is, this bitter dispute has hurt this campaign and it has hurt the Republican Party . . . and I do not think either of you can defeat Alan Cranston."
Neither Offers Response
Neither Davis of Valencia nor Fiedler of Northridge acknowledged Naylor's criticism in their remarks to the group.
Fiedler and her top aide, Paul Clarke, were indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury on charges that they attempted to entice Davis out of the Republican Senate race with a $100,000 campaign contribution. Fiedler and Clarke contend that they were under the impression that Davis had already decided to quit the race when they began discussions of financial help for him.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled Feb. 21.
On Wednesday, Fiedler and Naylor were already on the dais in the Sacramento Community Center when Davis arrived. Davis shook hands with Naylor and then offered his hand to Fiedler, who declined to shake it.
According to Naylor, Fiedler said to Davis, "I have no interest in shaking your hand."
Neither Davis nor Fiedler would discuss what Fiedler said.
Fiedler Departs Quickly
After the event, Fiedler left quickly, refusing to stop and talk with reporters.
"I am going to focus on winning this Senate race," she said as she walked out of the building with aide Steve Frank.
Asked by reporters if he had offered his hand to Fiedler to put her on the spot, Davis laughed and replied:
"No. Bob (Naylor) and I always shake hands, and I certainly wasn't going to skip Bobbi, because you would take a picture of that."
Naylor said to reporters, "There will be more column inches devoted to this thing than to the other issues in the race. It will keep coming up as long as they are in the race. . . . If we are going to beat Alan Cranston, we have to get on with it."
'Like a Cloud on the Ceiling'
Asked if he was exacerbating the problem by bringing up the Fiedler case himself, Naylor replied, "It was here in this room like a cloud on the ceiling. I wanted to make clear here that I was not passing judgment, but that Davis and Fiedler have unfortunately taken themselves out of the category of candidates capable of beating Alan Cranston."
Naylor said he was talking with supporters of both Davis and Fiedler in an attempt to pull them toward his camp and that he believed he was making inroads in Northern California.
In their addresses to agricultural leaders and farmers, Naylor, Fiedler, Davis and Rep. Ed Zschau of Los Altos all talked about what they thought should be done to help California farmers better compete in world markets. There was little disagreement among them.