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49th Congressional Campaign Off To Aggressive Start

Diane Harkey and Mike Levin are shown in undated photos.

Credit: Diane Harkey and Mike Levin

Above: Diane Harkey and Mike Levin are shown in undated photos.

The candidates in the highly competitive 49th Congressional District race to replace Darrell Issa are launching the campaign season with attacks. Republican Diane Harkey and Democrat Mike Levin are coming out of the gates swinging.

It’s not yet Labor Day and Harkey, Darrell Issa’s handpicked successor, has a cable TV ad accusing Levin, an attorney, of working on behalf of Countrywide Financial during the mortgage meltdown. Over ominous music, a voice accuses Levin of earning thousands of dollars defending Countrywide and evicting families from their homes.

Levin’s campaign denies ties to Countrywide's deceptive practices, saying Levin worked for a firm contracted by Bank of America that fought fraudulent mortgage claims after Bank of America bought Countrywide.

Democratic candidate Paul Kerr spent money on ads with similar attacks before the June primary election, but Levin dismissed them as misleading and beat Kerr convincingly to win a spot on the November ballot.

Levin is hitting back against Harkey with an 8-minute online video featuring seniors like Lynn Hasney who lost everything in a Ponzi scheme managed by Harkey’s husband involving real estate investments. Dan Harkey was ordered to pay back more than $12 million.

"I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she’s using all the money that they got from duping all of us to fund her campaign right now," said Hasney in the video.

A California Appeals Court recently affirmed Dan Harkey’s conviction in the multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. Diane Harkey was listed as an officer in the company but was not implicated in the conviction.

The 49th Congressional District stretches from Del Mar to Dana Point and is one of the most competitive congressional seats in California due to changing demographics. Incumbent Republican Darrell Issa decided to retire after serving in the seat for 18 years, rather than risk losing it.

Levin’s campaign has been the most effective at fundraising, with more than $2 million raised leading up to the June primary. Harkey raised $700,000 before June, of which $100,000 was a loan from herself.

The candidates in the highly competitive 49th Congressional District race to replace Darrell Issa are launching the campaign season with attacks.

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