Negativity rules campaign ads
by John Upton
Oct 26, 2006 | 401 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

As Election Day nears, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Democrat Jerry McNerney are both complaining about negative campaign attacks.

“If I were simply a private citizen and not an elected member of Congress, the litany of attacks against me and my family would constitute libel, slander and defamation of character,” wrote Pombo in a Wednesday e-mail to his supporters.

McNerney’s spokesman mirrored Pombo’s complaint after reading the e-mail.

“If Jerry McNerney were simply a private citizen and not a Congressional candidate for change, the litany of lobbyist-funded attacks against him and his family would constitute libel, slander and defamation of character,” Yoni Cohen said.

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, called “scum” last week by Pombo’s campaign manager, has spent more than $1.4 million attacking Pombo. The group’s spokesman defended his group’s purely negative campaign.

“We’ve simply been telling the truth about Richard Pombo’s record,” said Ed Yoon, campaign manager for the defenders. “But if Mr. Pombo has been fantasizing about being a public citizen, he’s in luck — because he’s about to be one again.”

Polling released last month by McNerney and Yoon showed voter support for the congressional candidates was virtually equal, and both the National Republican Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are paying for advertisements in the high-profile race.

Pombo and McNerney are both desperately calling for volunteers to help their campaigns with telephone banks and door-to-door campaigning before the Nov. 7 election.

Letterboxes, answering machines, radios and televisions across Tracy are overflowing with mostly negative advertisements for federal, state and city political races.

Mailers funded by developers and local landowners are landing in mailboxes that criticize developer deals being negotiated by the city and supported by councilman and mayoral candidate Brent Ives.

Up to $70,000 worth of advertisements paid for by a supermarket chain, Manteca developers, and $25,000 from Pombo’s Rich Political Action Committee criticize Ives’ opponent, Celeste Garamendi.

Garamendi called on Ives to cancel the advertisements, but Ives said his hands were tied.

“I don’t necessarily want them to be involved in the race, but I can’t direct them one way or another because then I’m violating the Political Reform Act,” said Ives. The act sets rules for independent expenditure campaigns.

• To reach reporter John Upton, call 830-4274 or e-mail jupton@tracypress.com.

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