(CNN) – A top aide to a California Republican gubernatorial candidate called into question a rival candidate's "mental condition" Monday, in what has become an increasingly bitter battle for the GOP nomination.
Mike Murphy, a political adviser to former EBay CEO Meg Whitman, was responding to an accusation by California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who accused Murphy of "intimidation tactics" in an effort to convince him to drop out of the race.
"[A]ll I can say is that I'm starting to worry about Commissioner's mental condition," Murphy said in a statement.
Specifically, the Poizner campaign said that Murphy contacted a senior member of Poizner's political staff to try and convince the commissioner to leave the race and focus on challenging Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2012. The Poizner campaign added that Murphy sent an e-mail after the telephone call suggesting Whitman was willing to spend tens of millions of dollars "'tearing up'" Poizner.
"The Murphy e-mail has been sent to the proper authorities, including the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's office, and the Attorney General's office for review of ethical violations," the Poizner campaign said in a statement.
Murphy does not dispute contacting Poizner's campaign pollster, who he described as an "old friend" as well as another Poizner adviser.
"It is true that I have been trying to find a way to avoid a costly and unnecessary Republican primary," Murphy said.
While Murphy said he will cooperate with law enforcement authorities, the Whitman adviser added he has no plans to speak publicly on the subject again.
"I do not plan to make any further comment on these discussions, as I do not want to create even more embarrassment for his consultants, or get anybody fired," Murphy said.
A recent poll showed that Whitman held a 28 percentage point lead over Poizner.
Well, name-calling is what Republicans do best.
What else do they have? All their policies have been tried and are proven failures.
So fear, hate, division, lies, immature name-calling ... yep! That's the GOP!
Wow that's just outright mean. No thanks I'll stick with Jerry Brown.
Meg Whitman is a big fat pig. And I'm not even voting for a Republican.
Republicans will stop at nothing.........shame on us for falling for all their stunts.
Is going to be the Repubic's nominee?
Wow what a story, CNN, riveting . . . . yyyyyaaaawwwwwnnnnnn
In all fairness, Meg has not participated in the democratic process before, and is not familiar legality in elections.
They're both nuts...just for Democrat!
And so it starts in California. I guess the Republicans have turned on thier own. I never knew the word "Republican" meant "name-caller" or it is just part of the platform?
Meg Whitman is buying her way to the governor's office. Now this.
GOP when desperate will say and do anything.
Beware of dirty politics CA!
Gee, does anyone else want to call into question Whitman's qualifications? How is it that being a movie star or the founder of a website qualifies you to run the state of California? I'm glad I don't live there, and I feel really bad for the one-tenth of America's population that does.
Meg Whitman is beginning to show her true strategy, that she is willing to do or spend anything to win the election. I live in CA and the radio is non-stop with her ads already, and she has "loaned" her campaign $40 million or her own money. People here are starting to talk about how scary that is.
The President and Congress will have to start cutting some overhead.
May have God have mercy on each one us !
So, this kind of cut-throat activity is what California can expect from a republican governor? I think whoever the Democrats run will be better than any of this.
Republicans eat their own all the time. That's nothing new. They also feed on the blood of Unicorns and exchange goods and services with the bones of baby dinosaurs.
I don't know much about Steve Poizner, but at least he has some experience in government.
Meg Whitman is just one more in a long line of money-grubbers who thinks that government doesn't matter so it doesn't matter who runs it.
Didn't work so well for Arnold, or for the rest of us.
Let the Republican cat fight begin! The Dems will win the govenorshop in California anyway! Only the campaign consultants will get richer, and CA will still have financial problems!
Let the Republican fight begin! The Dems will win the govenorshop in California anyway! Only the campaign consultants will get richer, and CA will still have financial problem
I'm worried about EVERY right wingers mental condition. Did you read the comments on the Ticker item about Obama going to Indonesia? These people need serious meds.
Meg Whitman has zero political experience and no public service. Why does she want to be governor? Who is this wolf in sheep's clothes? I doubt that being CEO of eBay qualifies her for the job. It only qualifies her to spend all of her millions to promote herself. What will she do for California and the tens of millions out of work, underpaid, overworked and taxed to death?
Decency is out the window during campaigns. We all have experienced that over and over.
Here comes "evil Meg". The right wing ain't happy with her, and neither is the left.
The 28% lead should begin to diminish after that email. Shame on Murphy.
Let me get this right. Murphy's worried that Poizner is too unstable to run for Governor but stable enough to run for Senator?
I guess the bar is much lower for GOP Senate candidates. A pox on Whitman and Fiorina for spending their ill gotten gains to try to buy political office
Just what California doesn't need is another Republican Governor. The Republicans have trashed the California economy and the only thing that Whitman will do is deplete more jobs to other countries as she has previously done as a CEO. They have shown nationally that they are good at unemploying this country with their policies. They think that everyone should work at the poverty level.
This is typical Republican politics...right out of Karl Rove's playbook.
btw-If Meg Whitman is elected governor and is able to ram through her "welfare plan", what is that going to do to the homeless population in California? How many more people are going to be forced to live on the streets?