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An Analysis of the "Scorched Earth" Battle in Burbank Area Assembly Seat
It's been 14 years since a Republican has represented the 43<sup>rd</sup> Assembly district covering Burbank, Glendale and parts of Los Angeles, but GOP operatives are salivating at the possibility of picking up this now vacant seat in a special election-and may be trying to influence the outcome of tomorrow's Democratic primary to bolster their chances.
Although, D's outnumber R's in the 43<sup>rd</sup> district by a two to one margin, Republicans see an opportunity to take the seat in June where Democratic turnout is predicted to be low and GOP turnout will be strong due to heightened interest in the races for U.S. Senate and Governor. Moreover, nearly 1 in 4 voters in the district are independents who may gravitate to the GOP this year.
Adding fuel to that speculation is the scorched earth battle between Democrats Nayiri Nahabedian, a Glendale Schools trustee, Mike Gatto, a former Congressional aide and ex- Chahe Keuroghelian, one time PIO for the Glendale Police. Nahabedian and her allies have slung most of the mud-suggesting that Gatto recruited Keuroghelian as a cipher to divide the Armenian vote. Keuroghelian shot back with an allegations that Nahabedian and Councilman Paul Krekorian had offered him incentives to get out of the race. The district attorney is now investigating whether any laws were broken. Gatto and his allies hit Nahabedian for voting against several school board initiatives that she claimed credit for in her political mail.
Meanwhile, Republican Sunder Ramani has run a Scott Brown style campaign: energizing the Republican base while appealing to Democratic and Decline to State voters as a "non partisan" problem solver who can reach across party lines to solve problems in "gridlocked" Sacramento. In fact, Ramani's mail doesn't even mention that he's a Republican The affable Ramani talks up his Indian heritage (he came to the US from Bangalore, India) and his success as a businessman.
While Democrats have largely ignored Ramani, he has spent spending a hefty amount communicating with Democrats and DTS voters. Ramani has no opposition in the GOP primary and Gatto supporters believe the Republican is trying to siphon off voters from their man to benefit Nahabedian.
Democratic activists are also raising questions about the involvement of a right wing political operative in Nahabedian's campaign. Peter Masurlian, a former aide to long time Glendale GOP Congressman Carlos Moorhead, has produced a number of slick documentary style videos attacking Mike Gatto and Keuroghelian.
Masurlian has long been a controversial figure in national politics-he's infamous for accosting Democratic Congressional Members with a camera rolling and then asking outrageous and profanity laced questions. Indeed, Masurlian has used the same tactics on Gatto and several of his supporters in his latest attack videos. A Gatto aide was so frightened by Masurlian's behavior that she filed a police report.
The videos feature some of the more outrageous charges made by the Nahabedian campaign about Gatto and directly track the negative messaging in political mail put out by two major independent expenditure campaigns supporting Nahabedian controlled by SEIU, CTA and the California Faculty Association. Curiously, the only candidate to receive favorable face time in Masurlian's latest attack video was Sunder Ramani. Masurlian has posted the videos on UTube, Facebook, and the Mayor Sam blog, which has close ties to Nahabedian's campaign team.
Ramani will almost certainly be the top vote getter in Tuesday's open primary and will face Nahabedian or Gatto in the general. While I don't buy the assertion that Nahabedian would be a weak general election opponent, or that the GOP can take this seat, it is certainly curious that Masurlian and Ramani have been front an center in the Democratic primary and that Nahabedian's team hasn't uttered a word in protest. Strange bedfellows indeed.
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An Analysis of the "Scorched Earth" Battle in Burbank Area Assembly SeatPosted by: PeterMusurlian on November 10, 2010
I wrote to Mr. Frommer shortly after he posted this piece in April 2010. I informed him of the inaccurate and defamatory nature of, at least, one of the items he states as fact. My comments were published here, but have since been taken down. I, once again, would like to inform Mr. Frommer of the libel & defamation in this "analysis." Legal action may follow, if Mr. Frommer's libelous disregard for the truth is not corrected.
PETER MUSURLIAN - Globalist Films - November 10, 2010
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