In January 1950, Douglas opened campaign headquarters in Los Angeles and San Francisco, which was seen as a signal that she was serious about contesting Downey's seat and would not withdraw from the race. Downey challenged Douglas to a series of debates; Douglas, who was not a good debater, declined. The two candidates traded charges via press and radio, with Downey describing Douglas's views as extremist.
Douglas's formal campaign launch on February 28 was overshadowed by rumors that Downey might retire, which Douglas called a political maneuver on Downey's part to get the attention of the press. However, on March 29, amid rumors that he was doing badly in the polls, Downey announced both his retirement and his endorsement of Los Angeles Daily News publisher Manchester Boddy. In his statement, the senator indicated that, due to his ill health, he was not up to "waging a personal and militant campaign against the vicious and unethical propaganda" of Douglas.
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