Assemblyman Tom Hayden's archenemy in the state Legislature has joined forces with the GOP candidate who is running against Hayden in November.
Gil Ferguson, a conservative Republican assemblyman from Newport Beach, has created a political action committee called the "Oust Tom Hayden PAC" to funnel contributions to the campaign of Gloria J. Stout, Hayden's rival.
Ferguson, who tried to have Hayden (D-Santa Monica) ejected from the Assembly earlier this year for his Vietnam-era anti-war activities, said he provided the $2,000 that launched the oust-Hayden committee. The committee will solicit contributions from thousands of people nationwide, Ferguson said.
"After my attempted ouster (of Hayden) I had thousands upon thousands of people sending petitions and cards to me from all over California and other places," Ferguson said. "We're sending letters to those who contacted us."
Ferguson was also the keynote speaker at a recent $25-a-person Stout fund-raiser in Santa Monica. The GOP assemblyman said he was impressed by Stout, 41, who faces an uphill battle in the overwhelmingly Democratic 44th District.
"She's a perfect candidate," Ferguson said in a telephone interview. "She's a fine lady and I am very heartened by the idea that she doesn't attack Hayden. She points out quite clearly that he is an ineffective legislator."
Ferguson tried to have Hayden ejected from the Assembly in June, claiming that Hayden's four trips to Hanoi during the Vietnam War constituted traitorous conduct. In an emotional rebuttal, Hayden defended his patriotism, and the Assembly rejected Ferguson's proposal in a vote that split along party lines.
Stout, a moderate, said she welcomed the conservative assemblyman's help. The soft-spoken Pacific Palisades camera store operator called Ferguson a "sincere person and a hard worker." Stout said, however, that she had mixed feelings about Ferguson's attempt to have Hayden ejected from the Assembly.
"I don't know that I agree with his stand," Stout said last week. "It's obvious that he has no love at all for Hayden and I'm not fond of him either. . . . But I would really rather see Hayden defeated at the polls."
Hayden was angered to learn of Ferguson's role in the Stout campaign. He said it added "ugliness" to the race and predicted that the move would backfire.
"I'm surprised that she would be associated with Mr. Ferguson since he represents bigoted views that are extremely unpopular in this district," Hayden said. "I would suppose it means that she is not in charge of her campaign."
Ferguson's entry into the Stout campaign adds spark to a lifeless race. Hayden is considered virtually unbeatable in his bid for a third term in the liberal 44th Assembly district, which stretches from Malibu to Century City. And Stout has been unable so far to rally major support for her candidacy.
Stout opened her campaign headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard last week. She said she hopes to convince party leaders that Hayden can be beaten, but does not have any guarantees of support. Stout has been attending numerous Republican functions and said she hopes to raise about $150,000.
She called Hayden an ineffective legislator who is out of touch with his district. Stout said drug abuse, a lack of shelters for the homeless and contamination in Santa Monica Bay are her major concerns. She added that she probably will not engage in the type of bitter personal attacks that characterized the last two races between Hayden and his opponents, Bill Hawkins in 1982 and David M. Shell in 1984.
"I don't like nasty campaigns," Stout said. "If we have a war or a battle, that doesn't help the district. But I shouldn't be underestimated. I'm sincere in working for victory, because I feel that the constituents are not in tune with Hayden or Campaign California (his political organization)."
Hayden denied Stout's accusation that he is ineffective and out of touch with the district. He said that about 20 of his bills have become law and pointed to his work on behalf of education and the efforts to clean up Santa Monica Bay. Hayden said he is also working on solutions to the problems that will be caused by the extensive development planned for the Westchester area.
Hayden raised about $100,000 at a dinner in Century City Tuesday night. During the $300-a-plate testimonial, Hayden reiterated his support for Proposition 65, the statewide anti-toxics initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot.
"There are a multitude of local concerns that I am involved with," said Hayden, 46, in a telephone interview. "And those are the kinds of things voters judge by. Ideology is not as important as whether the voters think you are rolling up your sleeves and working hard on local concerns."
Hayden said he did not know how much he would spend on the 1986 campaign. He spent a record $1.7 million in 1982 and about $400,000 in 1984. He said he hopes to spend less this year, but is not taking Stout for granted.
"I have a very intensive schedule planned," Hayden said. "If a race is perceived as being easy, you can be lulled into nonchalance."
Stout said she hopes to confront Hayden in a debate sometime soon. She has been campaigning door-to-door and plans to send a mailer to voters in the final days of the campaign. "It's hard for some people to rationalize putting money into this campaign," she said. "But we appreciate what we get."
Stout defeated Bill Mundell in the June GOP primary. There are two other candidates in the 44th District race. They are Neal Donner, a Libertarian, and Carol Berman, a member of the Peace and Freedom Party.