As the gap between Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican candidate Joe DioGuardi narrows, the New York Senate special election is getting ugly.
In new television ads, Gillibrand characterizes the largely unknown DioGuardi as a tax cheat with a record of wasteful spending while in Congress in the 1980s. DioGuardi responded Thursday on "Washington Unplugged," telling CBS News' Kaylee Hartung the senator is "desperate."
"I know how to prepare my taxes. It is desperate for the senator to go back to 1978," DioGuardi said. "I prepared probably 55 tax returns and one was audited. This was a normal audit. I was in a partnership on that return, it wasn't me alone, with three other partners of my old firm."
While New York Republicans were hesitant to support DioGuardi's candidacy, as the race tightens, he says he has their support.
"They are now. I was at a dinner last night with Republican Chairman of New York State Ed Cox," DioGuardi said. "Everyone is supporting me."
His opponent Gillibrand is a vocal supporter of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." DioGuardi wouldn't take a position on the issue Thursday, telling CBS News that he's waiting for military experts to weigh in.
"This to some is a matter of national security. I would like to wait to hear from generals and whatever they decide, I will go far," DioGuardi said.
One issue DioGuardi has taken a position on is abortion. As an anti-abortion rights candidate, he believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned. "I will agree with the laws of the land right now. But in this issue, I believe that life is precious. I believe the problem is the overwhelming number of unwanted pregnancies in America."
DioGuardi is no "American Idol" yet, but his daughter knows a thing or two about how to become one. Kara DioGuardi is a former judge on the popular show, though her father said her celebrity status isn't part of his campaign strategy.
"Her issues are in Hollywood and mine with Washington," DioGuardi said. "She has done more to get people to pronounce my name right and spell it right than anybody."
"Washington Unplugged," CBSNews.com's exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 2 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.
Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. For more of Washington Unplugged, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.