This is the video posted midday Monday by the California Democratic Party, which labeled it "Gary DeLong Loses It."
Long Beach City Councilman DeLong, a Republican, had already in weekend email press alerts labeled her a stalker hired by his opponent, State Senator Alan Lowenthal's political party.
The rule of the forum by the League of Women Voters was that there be no videotaping--except news media--during the forum. It was not clear there was such a rule about doing so afterward in Cal State Long Beach's Pyramid meeting room. It is a public university.
Both national parties have closely watched this campaign for a new congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as Democrats and Republicans seek the majority. This turn of events is the most heated in an increasingly charged election campaign. The seat represents most of Long Beach and several Orange County cities including Rossmoor and Los Alamitos.
We have asked DeLong for comment on the video, and Patch will follow up with more on this story.
From his Monday media e-mail from campaign media director Noel Fritsch:
“I asked her nicely several times to get the camera out of my face,” DeLong said. "When she refused to remove the camera from my face, I removed the camera and delivered it to a representative of the League of Women Voters so they could take appropriate action. I play by the rules and believe Alan Lowenthal should as well. Just because he lost the debate doesn't mean he shouldn't act in a more ethical manner."
“Several people audibly and politely asked the woman to stop being so intrusive with her camera, but she wouldn’t listen. She kept shoving her camera in Gary’s face," stated Dorothy Kistler. "It made me feel very uncomfortable.”
“I was having a conversation with Gary after the debate when the stalker interrupted our conversation by holding her camera just inches away from Gary's face. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Bill Thomas, a resident of Long Beach who attended the Forum. “I felt intimidated by her crazy behavior and was concerned about what her next action might be. She even pushed me in her effort to get closer to DeLong.”
The scuffle post-forum was the most charged in a campaign that has seen most fur fly by e-mail sorties.
On Monday, DeLong is quoted by the Press Telegram's Eric Bradley saying he did not regret grabbing the tracker's phone camera, adding:
"It was intrusive," said DeLong. "Most importantly, I don't think voters in the 47th District support that behavior."
On Monday, Lowenthal's campaign consultant, Mike Shimpock, scoffed at the stalking label for standard political M.O. and questioned DeLong's vow to vote contrary to conservative Republican leaders.
"How does anyone believe Gary is going to be able to face down Iran as a member of Congress when he's afraid of a 95-pound blonde with a video camera?"
Late Monday, the Press Telegram, which has endorsed DeLong for congress, posted an editorial declaring he had lost his cool:
"DeLong insists he 'didn't feel anger or overreaction.' But the reality is that he did overreact. Ripping someone's property from their hands is not acceptable behavior from anyone, especially a candidate for Congress."