6:35 AM PDT, October 30, 2012
FULLERTON, Calif. (KTLA) -- The race for California's 39th Congressional District is taking an ugly turn, as Democratic candidate Jay Chen says his campaign is being harassed by racist, anti-Asian emails and calls.
"They basically went through the entire dictionary of slurs and used every single one," Chen told KTLA. "It's incredible that these types of mindsets are still out there."
In the latest incident, Chen was reportedly threatened with physical violence.
In addition, Chen's campaign says several posters were recently ripped down from the front of their Fullerton headquarters.
The Michigan-born, Harvard-educated Chen says the attacks began shortly after his opponent, long time Republican Congressman Ed Royce, began running negative ads questioning Chen's financial backing.
Some of the callers, in fact, have even claimed to be Royce supporters, according to Chen.
"These folks who are saying such hurtful and hateful things represent a small minority, but they're out there," Chen said.
"We have to understand that there's still this kind of mentality out there, and that should motivate more people to come out and vote and get involved in the political process.
KTLA spoke to Royce supporters David and Jeanne Kall, who condemned the messages, saying it's not what their candidate stands for.
"I'm ashamed of that because I think the campaign should be run on record and what they believe in and what they want to do for the community," David Kall said.
"There are people out there that are full of hate, and it's a shame," Jeanne Kall added.
The Royce campaign released a statement Monday night denying any connection at all to the hate speech, and also suggesting the racist remarks may be a ploy by the Chen camp to discredit the incumbent.
The newly drawn 39th Congressional District spans portions of south Los Angeles County and cities in western and northern Orange County.