With less than two weeks until Election Day, the race for the Palm Springs District 4 city council seat is turning nasty.
Former Palm Springs councilmember Mike McCulloch and newcomer Dian Torres are challenging incumbent Christy Holstege. They all say they're experiencing below-the-belt attacks.
Holstege is calling out social media comments accusing her of "pretending to be bi-sexual." Another comment read, "I highly doubt Christy belongs to the LGBTQ community that she says she was part of."
"To have people calling into question or saying I'm lying about my sexual orientation – those are just homophobic attacks," Holstege said.
She gave birth to her first son Aden just 5 days ago, and is now responding to online attacks saying she can't do her job and be a new mother at the same time.
"Obviously, in 2020, we all know that mothers and parents can work and also raise children," Holstege said.
But it isn't just Holstege fielding attacks.
Mike McCulloch posted a photo of his campaign sign vandalized with what he called a "Hitler mustache." He declined to comment for this story, but wrote online, "Please stop the hate. ... All I can ask is support your candidate in a positive manner."
Dian Torres found trash and dog poop spread outside her home – an attack she called unacceptable.
"This is not the time for people to be nasty and ugly – there's really no room for it," Torres said. "I became very angry. I thought, 'Really – really?! There are people that would stoop that low?'"
McCulloch said online of that incident, "Dian is a person of character. ... Be advised you are not helping your candidate and I am certain she does not welcome these actions."
The candidates are now calling for civility through the rest of the election.
"These trolls vandalizing, doing mean and hateful things – there's no room for it. There is none," Torres said.
But Torres, who is openly lesbian, wouldn't disavow the attacks on Holstege's sexuality.
When asked if she agreed with the attacks, she said, "I don't condemn anyone for their sexuality, but don't use it for personal gain and to manipulate people to get what you want."
Holstege is urging voters to focus on what really matters this election. "I repudiate and don't accept any personal attacks against any candidate," she said. "That type of behavior is not acceptable. We need to really talk about the issues."