Republican state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner has made illegal immigration a central issue in his campaign. He supports Arizona's new immigration law.
It is the same law that took LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to Washington, D.C. He met with Attorney General Eric Holder and other police chiefs who think the Arizona law is dangerous.
"Laws like this will actually increase crime, not decrease crime. And they do that because they decrease reporting, they decrease witnesses coming forward," said Beck.
Poizner spoke to an audience in El Segundo that included middle school students. He once again praised Arizona's law making illegal immigration a state crime.
In an interview, Poizner said criticism of the law is a knee-jerk liberal reaction. And that includes liberal police chiefs and city councils.
Asked if he thought Chief Beck is a liberal, Poizner said, "Well, I think he has certain policy positions that he's taken in conjunction with his bosses at the L.A. City Council that are just outright wrong," said Poizner.
Poizner includes his opponent Meg Whitman. She opposes the Arizona law. Whitman is attacked by Poizner for supporting amnesty.
"I am not for amnesty. I am 100 percent against amnesty," said Whitman.
Poizner refers to a statement Whitman made last month while touring the border. She disputes his version that he calls proof Whitman supports an amnesty program.
"She said that there needs to be a pathway to citizenship, you need to be able to get to the end of the line and pay a fine," said Poizner. "Now that's amnesty."
Whitman swears she has never referred to a pathway to citizenship. She talked about a guest worker program and a path to legalization.
"If we're going to have a stable workforce, for example, for the agricultural community, they need those individuals to be working here legally. They need to pay taxes, and there has to be a way to create a stable workforce, for example, for our agricultural community," said Whitman.
An Eyewitness News poll and two other recent surveys have Whitman more than 20 points ahead of Poizner. Poizner disputes the results. And Poizner's campaign points to a new Rasmussen Poll that shows Poizner slightly ahead of Whitman in a head-to-head matchup with Democrat Jerry Brown.