(CNN) - California Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman accused Democratic opponent Jerry Brown of orchestrating the scandal that erupted this week over her former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz-Santillan, in a debate Saturday night.
"Jerry, you know you should be ashamed, you and your surrogates," Whitman said. "You put it out here and you should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions."
In response, Brown said Whitman was avoiding responsibility for hiring an undocumented worker.
"You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions. But you don't take accountability," Brown said.
The candidates sparred over the economy, jobs and immigration, a key issue in the border state.
Brown criticized Whitman's stance that employers should be held accountable for hiring illegal immigrants and brought the debate back to the recent controversy over her onetime housekeeper.
"Ms. Whitman obviously didn't crack down on herself," Brown said. "That is a question of talking out of both sides of her mouth."
Whitman responded that she did "hold myself accountable" once she discovered that Diaz-Santillan was in the United States illegally.
"If we do not hold employers accountable we will never get our arms around this very challenging problem," she said.
Whitman said she favors a guest worker program but does not support a path for citizenship for those already in the country illegally.
Saturday's debate was the second for the two nominees. It aired on Univision and the questions were asked in Spanish and then translated into English.
The event comes as both candidates court the Latino vote, which represents 21 percent of the electorate in California.
A Los Angeles Times/USC poll released Monday gave Brown a 19-point edge over Whitman among registered Latino voters. In the same poll, Brown held a 49 to 44 point lead over Whitman among all likely voters. The poll carried a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.