The three major Republican Senate candidates will debate for the final time tonight, with frontrunner Tom Campbell expected to be on the receiving end of attacks from his two rivals.
Campbell, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, and former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina will answer questions from three reporters and moderator Marc Brown, a KABC-TV Channel 7 anchor, for an hour at the Museum of Tolerance.
Campbell, who spent five terms in Congress and was also a state senator, has drawn criticism for his past support of tax increases, anathema to Republicans. Representatives of both the DeVore and Fiorina campaigns described him as a liberal, an epithet to nearly all Republicans.
Press secretary Erin Daly said Campbell "is not going to engage in arguments within the party – however, his fiscally conservative record in Congress and reputation for being known as the 'cheapest guy in Congress' speaks for itself."
The debate "will be a useful contrast between Chuck and the other candidates," Joshua Trevino, the DeVore campaign communications director, told a local wire service.
The DeVore campaign plans to use the debate to show "how out of touch" Campbell is with voters in the Republican primary and that Fiorina is "a shallow, uniformed political dilettante who brings nothing of substance to the table," Trevino said.
Fiorina press secretary Amy Thoma said "this debate will show that Carly Fiorina is the only conservative in this race that can beat Barbara Boxer," referring to the Democratic incumbent.
"Carly is the only candidate in this race who has met a payroll or created a job, and it will become clear to the voters in California that she has the right experience at the right time to beat Barbara Boxer," Thoma said.
"She is also the only candidate in the race who isn't a career politician, and her experience in the real world will shine through."
Campbell will use the debate to "highlight his relevant experience to the job of being a U.S. senator," Daly said.
"His 30-year career combines a balance of working in education, public service and business," Daly said. "Tom Campbell served in Congress with Sen. Barbara Boxer where he was rated No. 1 by the National Taxpayer Union Foundation, whereas Boxer [then in the House of Representatives] was ranked 412th.
"Tom Campbell has the experience, expertise and balanced background to defeat Senator Boxer and to be an effective U.S. senator."
The debate will be telecast Sunday by KABC and C-SPAN.