Even though their man is trailing in the polls, with less than a week before California’s June 5 primary, the independent expenditure group backing former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s gubernatorial run has launched an aggressive ad campaign against frontrunner Gavin Newsom.
The ads are the first sustained hits on Newsom, the lieutenant governor and former San Francisco mayor.
Capitol Public Radio reports that the ads come from an outside group run by charter schools and funded by a handful of billionaires — a group that’s now raised more than $20 million.
Villaraigosa is trailing Republican businessman John Cox for second place to earn a spot in the November general election.
Insiders say this is a major paradigm shift as to date rival Democrats and the charters group have essentially given Newsom a free pass.