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California and the West | ELECTIONS / U.S. SENATE

Campbell Takes on Feinstein With TV Ad Targeting Latinos


Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell is taking aim at Democratic incumbent Dianne Feinstein's record on Latino issues in a new television ad scheduled to begin Monday on Spanish-language stations.

The 30-second ad, to air in Los Angeles and the Central Valley, criticizes Feinstein as a late opponent of Proposition 187, the anti-immigration ballot initiative approved by voters in 1994 but largely invalidated by the courts.

It also assails Feinstein for promoting a national identification card that has been criticized by civil libertarians and others as a threat to privacy.

Campbell's commercial notes that he was an early opponent of Proposition 187 and opposes a national card system.

The ad campaign, which will air through Friday as Feinstein takes a high profile at the Democratic National Convention, will cost only about $60,000--a fraction of what would normally make inroads in a statewide contest in California.

Campbell's campaign aides said Saturday that the ads, which end with the San Jose congressman speaking in Spanish, will run during early evening news programs, which are more affordable than prime time. They characterized the spot as the first salvo in a strategy to lure Latino voters.

"Reaching out to Latino voters will be a pillar of this campaign," said the campaign's Sean Walsh, who said Campbell will be in Los Angeles this week for several Latino voter events.

Recent polls make it clear that Campbell has considerable ground to cover if he is to close the gap with Feinstein, a senator since 1992. Last week, a Public Policy Institute of California poll showed Feinstein with a 52%-33% lead over Campbell among all voters and a 60%-21% advantage among Latinos.

Moreover, while Feinstein's views have rankled Latinos in the past, the state's Democratic Party, with its growing number of Latino legislators, has closed ranks behind her in recent years.

Feinstein's campaign manager, Kam Kuwata, on Saturday defended the senator's record.

"To say she waited to the last minute on Proposition 187 is a baldfaced lie," Kuwata said, noting that Feinstein made her position known weeks before the 1994 election.

By that time, the divisive Proposition 187 campaign had been raging for months.

Kuwata also said Feinstein supports a tamper-proof identification card to enable employers to verify a potential worker's residency and legal status. "Dianne has always supported legal immigration and wants to protect those who are playing by the rules," he said.

Feinstein's support for an identification system has drawn criticism, particularly after she wrote a May 1995 article for Roll Call, a Washington journal.

In that article, Feinstein said stopping illegal immigration was her "No. 1 priority." She also wrote that federal officials should give careful consideration to a "new phone- or machine-readable card that all job and benefits applicants would be required to present to verify their work or eligibility for assistance."

"Whether the card carries a magnetic strip on which the bearer's unique voice, retina pattern or fingerprint is digitally encoded, or whether it incorporates a digitized photo and signature integrated into the plastic card itself, it is clear to me that state-of-the-art work and benefits eligibility IDs can and must replace the Dinosaur Age documents now being used," she wrote.


Times research librarian Steve Tice contributed to this story.

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