In the end, a frustrated Stepanek decided to endorse Clinton, particularly because of his strong anti-smoking views.
Stepanek also weighed in on the nearby 24th Congressional District race in the western San Fernando Valley, although he said it was not tobacco that compelled him there.
Stepanek criticized Rich Sybert, the Republican candidate, for appearing before an anti-illegal immigration group whose president had made derogatory comments about Mexicans. Even though Sybert denied any ties to Voice of Citizens Together, Stepanek accused him of "unconscionable pandering to [a] racist hate group," which he said "disqualified him from consideration for a position of public trust and responsibility."
Sybert said it was simple revenge that prompted Stepanek to publicly denounce him. When Sybert spoke at the West Los Angeles Lincoln Club shortly before the election, Stepanek fired off an angry letter criticizing him for entering Stepanek's turf. Enclosed was a map of the 29th Congressional District reminding Sybert of the boundaries.
Despite the disagreement, Sybert, who also lost his congressional bid, says the Republican Party should back off and leave Stepanek alone. "Let's just put the whole thing behind us," he said.
For Stepanek, the state party's action means that his campaign is continuing beyond election day. Now, instead of battling a prominent Democrat, he is fighting to stay in his own party.
The many expletive-filled telephone calls he received have reinforced for him how strongly many in his party feel about his act.
But Stepanek says parting ways with the party felt, and continues to feel, right.
"I feel great," he said. "I did the right thing. That's what my campaign was about."