(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.
Typical GOP storm trooper tactics.
HA! The mental condition of all our politcians should be called into question.
Mud-slinging is a sure sign that a candidate is unprepared and unqualified for the office they seek.
Lies, accusations, intimidation and cover-up, looks like a normal Republican political agenda.
Meg may not be familiar with legalities involved in elections, since she never participated before. Spending tens of millions in a primary election might make a voter suspect of where the money is coming from, and who she will owe if she gets elected.
Classy. If the words slipped out of her mouth in a candid moment, that would be one thing. But this was in a prepared statement. If this is the best the GOP has....
I do not think that we need any more senators from the party that brought us the republican 'culture of corruption,' torture, lies about WMD"s, unnecessary war, no bid defense contracts, tax cuts for the wealthy, and, the party who bends over and grabs their ankles for the health insurance industry, Wall Street and big banks.
What do right wingnuts have against Obama's "Pay as you go," and tax cuts for small businesses?
Poizner is a whiner. Seriously, this stuff happens in state politics all the time. If you can't take it get out of the race...
Oh crap, now he is going to contact the FBI about my post!
Let's just say I question the mental stability of anyone still loyal to the GOP after the Bush debacle.
You don't say things like that without some level of proof. My question is how did this become public if it were an e-mail dialoge between "old friends" like Murphy claims.
One more reason Americans are tired of politics... How can you promise to 'tear up' someone of your own party just for political gain?!