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#ShowUsYourMailers: 49th Congressional District Campaigns Turn Negative

Mailers from campaigns for the 49th congressional seat, May 2018

Photo by Alison St John

Above: Mailers from campaigns for the 49th congressional seat, May 2018

With the June primary election less than two weeks away, the campaign for the 49th Congressional District is getting aggressive, with negative attack ads appearing on TV and in mailers. Voters might be surprised to find out who’s paying for those ads.

Until now, voters have seen stacks of mailers and TV ads from the eight leading candidates for the 49th district, which has long been a Republican stronghold, but which Democrats hope to flip.

The front-runner in the race to replace retiring Darrell Issa, R-Vista, is Republican California State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside.

A current TV ad attacks Chavez for supporting California Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget:

"Chavez voted for the biggest budget in state history, that spends $180 billion of your money," the ad proclaims, "and Chavez even voted to raise your gas and energy costs, spending your money and costing you even more."

You might expect this to be an attack from the Republican anti-tax lobby, but instead, it is it paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Chavez said the Congressional Campaign Committee, known as the D Triple C, is hoping to knock him out of the top spot in the primary election by appealing to Republican voters.

"So the D Triple C is hitting a Republican for voting for a Democratic budget," Chavez said. "It’s funny. So you’re essentially hitting the Republican for working with the Democrats. So the message is, 'no good deed will go unpunished.'"

Meanwhile, four Democrats are struggling to be among the top two in June.

Democrat Paul Kerr has sent out the most mailers — more than a dozen — which focus on his strengths. Now, however, he’s using his personal wealth to pay for mailers accusing rival Democrat Sarah Jacobs of being wealthy and out of touch. He also attacks fellow Democrat, environmental attorney Mike Levin, of being a lobbyist for a company funded by big oil.

But Levin has significant support from environmental groups and Democrat party leaders, including former San Diego County Chair Francine Busby. Busby has rallied to his defense with robocalls to voters, refuting the charges.

"Don’t believe the false attacks," Busby’s message said. "Join me and the Sierra Club in supporting Mike Levin for Congress.”

Sixteen candidates are in the race for the 49th Congressional seat, among them four Democrats and eight Republicans. The stakes are high for the leading candidates, some of whom will have spent more than $1 million to be one of the top two vote-getters in June, and win the right to go on to battle it out in November.

With the June primary election less than two weeks away, the campaign for the 49th Congressional District is getting aggressive, with negative attack ads appearing on TV and in mailers. Voters might be surprised to find out who’s paying for those ads.

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