The drama of Tan Nguyen and how his campaign attempted to scare away Hispanic voters from showing up and voting for his opponent, Loretta Sanchez, has been unfolding for a few days now. I really thought this was just a little scandal, another imploding campaign. I figured Tan Nguyen would withdraw and that would be that.
But no. Apparently Tan Nguyen is claiming that the real problem is not the alleged criminal behavior of his campaign, but rather the investigation into that alleged criminal behavior.
A Republican congressional candidate whose campaign is being investigated for sending intimidating letters to Hispanic voters lashed out at his Democratic rival, saying she was fueling the uproar over the mailings.
Tan Nguyen on Sunday rejected calls to drop out of the race to unseat longtime Rep. Loretta Sanchez (news, bio, voting record), and implied the popular congresswoman was behind the probes into the letters warning immigrants they could be deported or jailed for voting in next month's election.
"There has been no crime committed so why is there a criminal investigation three weeks prior to a very important election?" Nguyen asked. "What is going on? Who is fueling this investigation?"
Here's a little background:
Nguyen said Sunday he did not authorize or approve the letters, which warn in Spanish: "You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time."
In reality, immigrants who have become naturalized U.S. citizens are eligible to vote.
California Department of Justice investigators searched Nguyen's campaign headquarters on Friday, as well as his residence and a home listed as belonging to one of his staffers. Investigators are looking into possible voting rights violations.
So who sent these mailings? His campaign office manager! And get this: He fired her last week, but now wants her back.
In other words, he's endorsing intimidating voters, and complaining that criminal investigations into this are the problem.
Nguyen said Sanchez was "fueling this hysteria" and investigators were "terrorizing my family and volunteers" and violating his right to free speech.
If he wants to put this behind him, he should own up and take responsibility for his own campaign. He should apologize. Of course, taking responsibility and apologizing aren't things Republican politicians do these days. But if he can't find it in himself to do this, then he should withraw altogether.