Next year’s race for governor is threatening to get ugly early, with a pair of candidates taking dead aim at Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the perceived front-runner in the race to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown.
With the June 5 primary still more than six months away, Democratic state Treasurer John Chiang and Republican businessman John Cox are both spending campaign cash to slam Newsom for his work as San Francisco’s mayor and, in Cox’s case, for Newsom’s association with Brown.
Attacking a progressive Democrat from San Francisco is a no-risk move for Cox, a conservative Republican from San Diego County who’s seeking to be the top GOP choice in the June primary. He’s irrelevant, so let’s move on.
The negative route is a bit more complicated for Chiang, a Democrat who’s courting many of the same liberal and progressive voters as Newsom. So he’s taken a different tack, putting up a website, http://www.gavinfacts.com, to link to negative stories about Newsom and then pitching the site — and the anti-Newsom attacks — in Facebook ads.
“It’s just the facts,” said Kate Chapek, a spokeswoman for Chiang, a Los Angeles County resident. “We don’t consider it negative; it’s just contrast and comparison. Our position is that the voters must have the opportunity to see the real differences” between Newsom and Chiang.