In Nixon's first race for Congress in 1946, extremist supporters circulated flyers denouncing his opponent, Jerry Voorhis, as the protector of "the subversive Jews and communists" who served "the interests of International Jewry" and sought "to destroy Christian America and our form of government." In his 1950 Senate race against Helen Gahagan Douglas—whose husband, the actor Melvyn Douglas (né Hesselberg), was Jewish—anti-Semitism loomed even larger. The unabashed bigot Gerald L. K. Smith endorsed Nixon, stating that "Californians can do one thing very soon to further the ideals of Christian nationalism, and this is not to send to the Senate the wife of a Jew." Nixon repudiated Smith, but others continued to play the Jew card, reminding voters through anonymous phone calls and advertisements of Melvyn Douglas' religion. Some observers recalled that Nixon himself would sometimes "slip" during his speeches and call his rival "Helen Hesselberg," only to hastily "correct" himself.