Coming slugfest? Ashby's mailer highlights traditional talking points, Jones punches back saying opponent backed by 'big oil'

In what could become a lengthy and contentious battle framed by independent expenditures, punches are starting to fly in California's State Senate District 8 race. Although there are three Democratic candidates in the race, a battle has developed between the top two contenders for the open seat.

Those contenders are Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby and former State Insurance Commissioner and California Assemblymember Dave Jones. Mailers for both candidates appeared in voters' mailboxes this week.

Ashby's mailer contains a typically soft approach highlighting elements of her life story and accomplishments as a city council member. There is no mention of Jones or the other candidate in the race, Rafa Garcia.

Although Ashby does not mention her opponents, it doesn't mean there are no negative ads about an opponent in circulation. In this case, Jones is targeted by a negative campaign funded by Californians for a Jobs and a Strong Economy, an independent group funded by companies like Chevron. 

That committee has been running a series of TV and online commercials targeting Jones and portraying him as a bobblehead. Jones punched back hard in the mailer that arrived the same day as Ashby's.  

Jones' mailer lists "3 things every DEMOCRAT Needs to Know." While the first point highlights Jones' positive traits, the other two attack Ashby.

The second point says, "Angelique Ashby isn't our side." The piece notes that Ashby has "opposed raising minimum wages" and other measures to help working families.

The third point states, "Big Oil is backing" Ashby and describes her as a "corporate candidate." It also claims oil companies support Asby "because Dave Jones passed some of the toughest regulations in the country targeting oil companies."

Undoubtedly targeting a specific opponent in a campaign mailer comes with risks, but Jones is punching back in a way that could put Ashby on the defensive. After all, who wants to defend being supported by and taking donations from groups contributing to climate change and its adverse effects much less profiting from high gasoline prices burdening consumers.

Given Ashby and Jones are likely to advance out of the June primary, this could be the start of an ongoing slugfest.  

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