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Republican Bonnie Garcia's campaign denounced a comment attributed to Jeff Stone, saying the GOP rival in Riverside County's 28th Senate District is equating her fundraising efforts to prostitution.

Stone and fellow Republican candidate Glenn Miller teamed up last week to condemn the influx of money to support Garcia in the GOP-dominated district. Among the contributors is moderate Republican benefactor Charles Munger Jr., a Stanford physicist whose Spirit of Democracy California committee has spent more than $300,000 on behalf of Garcia, a former assemblywoman from Cathedral City.

"Ronald Reagan once said: 'Politics is the second oldest profession, although it bears a close resemblance to the first,'" Stone said in the news release. Prostitution is often called the oldest profession. "We can see this now first hand in this election."

Garcia strategist Matt Rexroad said Stone's critique goes too far.

"They basically call Bonnie Garcia a whore," Rexroad told The Bee.

"This is politics at the worst, and should be denounced by any group that wants to see women elected to office at any level," he added.

Stone's campaign rejected the link.

"Those are their words, not ours," Dave Gilliard said. But he stuck by the campaign's assertions that Garcia would represent the interests of her financial supporters.

Stone and Miller charged Garcia with cozying up to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by supporting the state budget to receive an appointment to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

"She is selling out her votes – like she has done in the past – in order to fund her campaign," Gilliard said.

The rivalry between Garcia, a former lawmaker, and Stone, a county supervisor, has grown more personal as the June 3 primary nears. Each has accused the other of ethical lapses.

While there are two Democrats in race, new election rules allow the pair of Republicans to prolong the competition by advancing to the general election in November.

This isn't Munger's first foray into Riverside County politics. In late 2012, Munger largely bankrolled a Republican voter registration effort meant to help GOP candidates in the county.

PHOTO: Ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger explains tape-recorded remarks about Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia at a news conference in 2006. Schwarzenegger apologized for saying during a closed-door meeting that Cubans and Puerto Ricans are temperamental because of their combination of "black blood" and "Latino blood." Garcia said she was not offended by the governor's comments. AP/Reed Saxon



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