SANTA ANA — Even as updated election results released Friday solidified Assemblywoman Doris Allen's nomination in the 67th Assembly District, the intraparty war between Allen and her closest opponent, Assemblyman Tom Mays, raged on.
Those candidates met Friday night behind closed doors with members of the Orange County Republican Party Ethics Committee to air complaints about campaign "hit pieces" that blanketed the district on the eve of Tuesday's election.
"A piece that was as blatantly fabricated and ugly as that one was can change the outcome of an election," Allen of Cypress said of a mailer sent by the Mays campaign. "We have an ethics committee here, and we all sign an oath that's like the 11th commandment. If it's to have any value, you have to stay with that oath. . . . I just had to do something."
Mays of Huntington Beach said he thought Allen would drop her complaint after winning the race.
"She wants to continue with the campaign even after the election," he said.
Mays added that he and his staff have "documentation to back up everything" stated in the mailers, including Allen's voting record and information about the political action committees tied to some of her contributions.
In another election battle that could not be settled Tuesday because 16,000 absentee ballots in the county remained uncounted after the polls closed, the race for the county Board of Education Area 1 seat grew tighter. The 78-vote lead held on election night by political newcomer Felix Rocha Jr. over incumbent Roger W. Belgen had dwindled to 32 votes Friday.
And in the Dana Point race for a City Council seat, the lead position changed. Challenger William L. Ossenmacher pulled ahead of incumbent Bill Bamattre by 16 votes.
Rosalyn Lever, assistant registrar of voters, said that with about 8,000 county votes still to be counted, the school board and council winners may not be known until Wednesday.
In the eight-candidate race for the Republican nomination in the 73rd Assembly District, which overlaps Orange and San Diego counties, Oceanside lawyer Bill Morrow led Laguna Niguel Councilwoman Patricia C. Bates by 866 votes. Given Morrow's strong lead in San Diego County, where another 6,000 absentee ballots also remain uncounted, neither candidate expected the outcome to change.
But Bates was not ready to give up. She said she would decide by next week whether to wage a write-in campaign against Morrow in the November election.
"There's very definitely a very strong nucleus of people in San Diego that want to run a write-in campaign," Bates said. "I think that in this particular (area), where they have been successful in write-in campaigns, the people that were involved in the last one will be involved in this one."
The successful write-in effort she was referring to was a 1982 bid that led to the election of Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad).
But Morrow dismissed talk of a write-in strategy. "I have not given it much thought," he said. "What I am going to do is look ahead. I am looking to unify all of the camps under the Republican banner. Strictly write-in campaigns are very difficult to do."
The winner of the GOP race will face Democrat Lee Walker, Libertarian Paul A. King and Peace and Freedom candidate Paul A. Steele in the Nov. 3 general election.
At county Republican headquarters in Costa Mesa, Mays and Allen barely spoke to each other as they entered the committee meeting room to discuss campaign tactics.
It was the first meeting between the candidates since the election--the only one in the state that pitted three conservative Republican incumbents--Mays, Allen and Nolan Frizzelle (R-Fountain Valley)--against each other, as a result of legislative redistricting.
The committee heard Allen's complaint about a mailer sent by Mays to voters last weekend alleging that she had ties to the Democrats. The brochure showed photographs of her, Democratic Assembly Speaker Willie Brown of San Francisco and Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica).
In the days before the election, Allen received about $100,000 in campaign contributions, with the bulk donated by Democratic-backed political action committees.
But the campaign literature, she said before the session, was a "complete fabrication."
After the two-hour session, according to Mays, Allen "got all red and hot in the face, and she stormed out of the meeting."
Allen could not be reached for comment after the meeting.
Mays said Allen was not above sending out "hit pieces" herself.
He said he was "hit" with four pieces in the final week of the campaign, including a letter signed by six other Assembly conservatives that called him "unreliable and hypocritical." Mays said he believes that the letter turned the voting against him.
Mays said he would decide Monday whether to file with the ethics committee a counter-complaint against Allen, citing her mailers.