Carl DeMaio is a powerhouse of a candidate. He's an excellent fundraiser, knows everyone, has a vast campaign network, and ran an excellent 2012 mayoral campaign. The primary results were eye popping. Republican candidates beat congressman Peters by 15.4%. While Democrats won a few seats with larger margins in 2012, that edge looked fairly insurmountable. The polling has been better for Peters, but the pollster uses questionable samples. The conservative/Tea Party backlash against DeMaio may turn out to benefit him because Peters #1 campaign theme is that DeMaio is a Tea Party extremist.
Last week an October surprise came out that threatens DeMaio's bid. A former staffer that DeMaio claims was fired for plagiarism has alleged DeMaio sexually harassed him. DeMaio vehemently denies the claim and says the staffer was the one responsible for vandalism at DeMaio's campaign HQ. Right now it's a he said he said situation, with both parties having a reason to lie. DeMaio has faced allegations of lewd acts before. That either makes him likely to do this or someone who people will believe any false allegation against. There's also the underlying message that gay men just can't keep it in their pants. "We know how they are." If DeMaio were a Democrat, the LGBT community would be rallying behind him to dispel that awful stereotype. Since he's a Republican, there's silence. Shame on them for that.
I have no idea what happened and without any corroborating information, there's no way to prove DeMaio did anything inappropriate. Of course there's no way he can prove he didn't. Allegations like this, however, could tarnish DeMaio's image with swing voters and give Peters the win. Whether they're true or not. If stories on the web and his Twitter feed are any indication, DeMaio is going about campaigning as if this allegation never happened. That can work and really there's not much DeMaio can do other than deny it. Ignoring it won't make the story go away. And it could blow up even more with some new piece of evidence. Perhaps the best news for DeMaio is that no one else has leveled any sexual harassment allegations at him. Once one woman came out with a harassment claim against former San Diego mayor Bob Filner, 17 others did. If DeMaio is the type who harasses people he works with, he surely didn't start this year.