Gas Tax-Supporting Democrat Josh Newman Revives Old Smears to Fight Recall

State Senator Josh Newman (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Embattled freshman Democrat State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) is resurrecting old smears against the San Diego Republican responsible for organizing a recall election against him for voting for Gov. Jerry Brown’s 12-cent gas tax earlier this year.

The Orange County Register reports that Newman is sending out mailers targeting former San Diego City Council member Carl DeMaio — a key figure in the recall effort — with a “tawdry, misleading attack” that claims DeMaio’s “political career ended when he was accused of sexually harassing numerous members of his staff and masturbating in front of a campaign aide.”

Those claims were partly responsible for sinking DeMaio’s campaign against Rep. Scott Peters in 2014. However, they were never proven, and the staffer who made the accusations was later found to have faked some of the evidence. As Breitbart News’ Michelle Moons reported at the time:

In the final weeks of the 2014 campaign, former DeMaio campaign staffer Todd Bosnich accused DeMaio of sexual harassment, and accused another campaign staffer of offering $50,000 if Bosnich would sign a non-disclosure agreement upon being fired. Both Bosnich and DeMaio are homosexual. DeMaio flatly denied the harassment claims and later accused Bosnich of a campaign office break-in.

Last Friday the Bosnich claims came up again, as he appeared in federal court over additional claims that DeMaio had sent him threatening emails regarding the harassment claims. The FBI investigated these additional claims, and Bosnich admitted that he had created the fake email and sent the emails to himself. He pled guilty to obstruction of justice, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern California. He said that he did so in order to bolster his sexual harassment claims, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Prosecutors were careful to note the case applies specifically to the threatening emails, and the sexual misconduct allegations were not further investigated.

DeMaio told Breitbart News at the time: “Todd Bosnich’s lies were incredibly painful, smeared my reputation and derailed our congressional campaign.”

Now, however, Newman is resurrecting those old smears. He offered an excuse to the Register: “I’m not pleased to be part of this kind of politics, but we are playing a game by their rules … [They] can’t play dirty, cynical politics and then say, ‘You hurt my feelings.'”

Newman’s real problem is that the new gas tax and car fees contained in Senate Bill 1 are increasingly unpopular. A new poll conducted by the University of California Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that voters oppose the gas tax 58% to 35%, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Though there are dozens of legislators who could be described as casing the “deciding vote” for the gas tax — including one Republican who admits he was bought off by promises of pork spending — Newman is a Democrat in a swing district, and therefore vulnerable.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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