Independent expenditure committee spends big to defeat Ly in Elk Grove - Will it pay off?

November 5, 2018 |  

With the last day of voting in Sacramento County and Elk Grove concluding in little more than 25 hours, a clear picture of the results will be upon us in about 36 hours from now.  There is one aspect of the Elk Grove mayors election campaign consultants will be conducting a post-mortem on - that will be a study of the effectiveness of the independent expenditure committee formed opposing Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly.

That committee, The Alliance to Support the Middle Class (ASMC), surfaced in the last two and half weeks of the campaign. The ASMC launched a full-frontal assault on Ly using a variety of online advertisements, a Facebook page, videos, and mailers that attacked not only Ly but one of his political consultants. 

According to information posted on the Elk Grove City Clerk's webpage, between October 22 and November 1, the APMC spent $62,315 and according to the California Secretary of State generated $84,500 in contributions. The funding for the APMC came from groups like PG&E, California Apartment Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 340, and the California Association of Realtors.

In the time since the campaign against Ly appeared, depending on who you speak with, the effectiveness of the ads is subject to debate. People tied to the campaigns of Ly and challenger Darren Suen indicate their polling shows their candidate in first place. 

Suen supporters say the attacks have hobbled Ly and will benefit their candidate while those with ties to the Ly camp say the negativity will turn voters against Suen. Supporters of the third candidate, Tracie Stafford, who condemned the attack, claim it will reflect negatively on both men who currently serve on the city council and push voters to her.

Perhaps the most significant development in the closing days of the campaign was another independent expenditure by Region Business. Although Region Business' foray in the final days was not negative, it was a metaphorical slap in the face to Ly's candidacy. 

A robocall in support of Suen was conducted by the business advocacy voiced by former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis (audio of robocall is posted below). Previous to this Saturday, November 3 call, Davis had been a staunch supporter of Ly and aided him in each of his three consecutive successful campaign victories elections to the Elk Grove Unified School District in 2012, the Elk Grove City Council in 2014, and the Elk Grove mayoral position in 2016.     

Will the attack ads and the robocall hurt Ly and help Suen, who many believe is the intended beneficiary, or will it turn voters off on the two officeholders and help Stafford? Regardless of the outcome, the tactics in the last two weeks will be scrutinized, and if it is proved to have helped defeat Ly, we can expect to see more of this in the future for incumbent politicians who do not toe the line for big monied organizations like those who funded the ASMC.    



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