Off Beat: GOP goes for the jugular
Those Republicans, they play for keeps, even in local races.
Such was the case in this year's Republican slugfest to choose the conservative successor to the always-conservative Rep. Wally Herger.
Turns out things got a little ugly, even by North State standards. But, hey, it's politics.
Earlier this month, a former state Senate aide to now Rep.-elect Doug ("He's one of us") LaMalfa, a GOP guy, issued an apology to former state legislator Sam Aanestad, the victim of the dirty trick.
Strange thing is, Aanestad is a GOP guy, too.
Aanestad and LaMalfa were competing for the Herger House seat.
The former aide, Mark Spannegal, apologized to Aanestad, admitting he was behind a website that made false claims about Aanestad's political and medical background. Aanestad is an oral surgeon.
To top things off, the website was falsely attributed to a third candidate in the race, Michael Dacquisto.
So this was a two-fer, if you will. Two candidates slammed for the price of one.
Aanestad sued for defamation, and Spannegal's apology apparently was part of the lawsuit settlement.
"I believe (the apology) is sincere. Mark (acknowledged) that he made a mistake," Aanestad told the Redding Record Searchlight. "That was one of the reasons that I wanted to get the public record set straight."
In the statement, as reported by the Redding paper, Spannegal also said he was apologizing "to the voting public in making accessible to them factually incorrect information regarding Dr. Aanestad's personal and professional character. ... I did this independently, on my own time, while I was a paid campaign staff member for the a rival congressional campaign and while as a chief of staff in the California Senate."
Dave Gillard, a LaMalfa spokesman, denied the campaign was involved in Spannegal's shenanigans.
"We're just happy that it's come to a conclusion, and that it's over," Gilliard told the Redding paper.
The odd man out in all of this was Dacquisto.
"I don't see my name here," Dacquisto told the Redding paper. "He used my name without my permission. He could have added a sentence, but he didn't do it. They think it's over and done with."
Dacquisto said the episode was "more politics as usual. Let's win the contest now. There aren't too many boundaries. We move onto the contest, and this gets resolved (later). You pay a fine, and it's no big deal."
Aanestad told the Redding paper he wishes Spannegal "well in his future endeavors."