Late last week sexual harassment accusations against Carl DeMaio, the Republican candidate in California’s 52nd district House race, made national headlines. The “New Generation Republican” who seeks to broaden conservatism’s appeal to typically non-Republican groups has categorically denied the claims, calling them “completely false.”

The man making the accusations is Todd Bosnich, DeMaio’s former campaign policy director, who like DeMaio is openly gay. Bosnich described in a CNN interview repeated instances of inappropriate intimate and sexual behavior DeMaio allegedly displayed towards him. These alleged acts included masturbating in front of him and caressing his neck, and according to Bosnich the harassment went on for several months.

To make matters worse for DeMaio, this is not the first time he has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior. He was accused last year by a fellow city councilman of masturbating on two separate occasions in a city hall bathroom.

That this is the second accusation against him, and that the more recent accuser Bosnich is willing to so publically describe his harassment, does not bode well for DeMaio.

As reported earlier, DeMaio recently clinched a polling lead against incumbent Democrat Scott Peters in this highly competitive race. Even if the allegations are completely false, such an “October Surprise” could derail this otherwise impressive campaign.

However, Bosnich is not without possible ulterior motive in making his accusations: vindictiveness. DeMaio said in an interview with CNN that the former campaign staffer is to blame, in addition to another terminated campaign staffer, for the May break-in of the DeMaio campaign headquarters six days before the primary. Those who broke in smashed computers and cut telephone lines. San Diego police have not named Bosnish or anyone else an official suspect.

DeMaio also said Bosnich was let go because he was caught plagiarizing.

Here’s the full quote from DeMaio on CNN:

“This is an individual that was let go by our campaign manager for plagiarism. A well-documented plagiarism incident of taking a report from the National Journal and passing it off as his own work,” DeMaio said. “He was terminated. He admitted that he plagiarized. He apologized for plagiarizing and when we told him he was no longer welcome in the staff and in the campaign office, even as a volunteer, he left. Days later, he broke in.”

If DeMaio’s claims are believed, then it casts a heavy cloud of doubt surrounding the genuineness of Bosnich’s claims. Coming in October less than a month before the elections is also dubious, and beckons the question of why he didn’t make these allegations earlier.

Right now, the only way DeMaio can completely overcome this problem is if indeed the police or the San Diego district attorney accuse Bosnich of the break-in. Regardless, it would do his campaign well to hold a press conference and let the public and media know of his full side of the story. In politics, bad publicity is bad publicity. Period.