By Ken Stone
Updated at 11:25 a.m. Oct. 11, 2016
Rep. Scott Peters is using a tweet by a former Democratic rival to pressure his current Republican opponent into taking a stand on Donald Trump. But the ex-foe, Lori Saldaña, is now criticizing how Peters used the post.
In a statement Monday, the Democratic incumbent in the 52nd Congressional District accuses businesswoman Denise Gitsham of conducting a telephone poll to learn what stand she should take on the GOP presidential nominee.
“The poll is being conducted by VuPoint Research, a data gathering company in Portland, Oregon, the same city where Gitsham’s pollster, Moore Information, is based,” said a Peters news release.
“No one should need a poll to tell them not to support Donald Trump’s reckless, hate-driven campaign for President — even more so after Friday’s release of Trump’s predatory comments toward women.” said MaryAnne Pintar, Peters’ campaign manager. “This is about values, not politics.“If this is true and Denise Gitsham needs a poll to tell her who to vote for, how can she possibly expect anyone to vote for her? Leaders are expected to lead.”
Peters’ campaign cites a tweet Sunday by Saldaña, the former Assembly member who narrowly lost to Peters in the 2012 congressional primary.
“Took about 6 minutes,” Saldaña said via social media. “Asked how likely I am to vote, my ethnicity, and if I was married/single. Asked about approval rating of current POTUS, and who I would vote for today for President and House of Representatives.”
She said she was asked if “Gitsham’s support of Trump would influence my choice.”
Officially, Gitsham has not taken a stand on Trump. Last week, she told a town hall in Poway that she wouldn’t divulge hr choice for president because “I refuse to be judged based on a litmus test. … I’m going to tell you what I’m all about, and why I’m saying the things I believe in. Hopefully, that will matter enough to you that you vote for me.”
But she has condemned Trump for remarks heard in the 2005 audio released Friday, saying: “His words are an embarrassment to our party, and the sentiments underlying them are utterly antithetical to my faith and values.”
Monday night, Saldaña faulted Peters for how his campaign used her tweet.
“I was surprised to hear a campaign made use of it in an email, without fact-checking first,” she said. “It’s not very professional. Anyone could post inaccurate information. To make it an actual email alert without confirming the facts is strange, frankly.”
Saldaña doubted that the Gitsham campaign paid for the poll, she told Times of San Diego.
“More likely it’s the [Republican National Committee], polling women/Latinos to see how badly Trump is doing with those voters, and what the ripple effect might be in this region.”
She said that after previous polls, she would often contact candidates and ballot measure campaign committees to let them know what questions were being asked.
“In this case, I was busy and simply posted it on my social media accounts. … I often share a detailed summary of the questions with the relevant campaigns, and encourage others who are called to agree to participate, take careful notes, and share the info as well,” she said.
“My goal is to inform and educate fellow voters and campaigns — not be part of the incessant and often unwanted fundraising appeals.”
On Tuesday, Peters’ campaign manager denied the Saldaña tweet was used for fundraising.
“We posed the question: Is Denise Gitsham polling to decide whether or not to support Donald Trump? which could easily be clarified if Ms. Gitsham would respond to the reporter’s query,” said the manager, MaryAnne Pintar. “We appreciate Ms. Saldana making this information available to the voters.”
The Gitsham campaign and VuPoint Research did not respond to requests for comment.
— ((Distracted)) (@LoriSaldanaSD) October 9, 2016
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