Capitol Alert

Super PAC ad for Loretta Sanchez casts Kamala Harris as ‘another Barbara Boxer’

U.S. Senate candidate candidate Loretta Sanchez speaks during her debate with Kamala Harris at Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 5.
U.S. Senate candidate candidate Loretta Sanchez speaks during her debate with Kamala Harris at Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 5. TNS

Aiming to entice disaffected Republicans, a Super PAC supporting Loretta Sanchez unveiled a radio ad that blasts her opponent, Kamala Harris, as “another Barbara Boxer,” the U.S. senator both Democrats are running to succeed.

Stu Mollrich, a consultant for California’s New Frontier, said the one-minute radio spot will begin airing Tuesday throughout Southern California and Central Valley markets. A federal filing shows the outside group has spent $45,000 on the buy.

The ad features a mock discussion between two Republican voters about the fact that the Senate race – for the first time – is between two Democrats. When one of the Republicans says she may not vote, she is instructed to cast her ballot for Sanchez – described in the ad as an “anti-establishment Orange County moderate” with a “reputation for working across the aisle to solve problems.”

Harris, the man in the ad says, is “just another Barbara Boxer – a Bay Area liberal backed by the Democratic party establishment.”

While the ad correctly points to her party’s strong support for Harris, including endorsements from President Barack Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Sens. Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, it is sure to roil Democratic leaders for what could be taken as a dismissive characterization of the retiring Boxer.

That’s how Harris’ campaign sees it.

“It's deeply disappointing but not at all surprising that Loretta Sanchez’s Trump-supporting allies are attacking Barbara Boxer, a tireless champion for our state and our environment,” Harris spokesman Nathan Click said in response. “Congresswoman Sanchez should call on her allies to take down the ad and she should stop appearing at the group’s events.”

Boxer, who moved her residence to Riverside County more than a decade ago, but maintains a home in the Bay Area, also responded to the slight.

“Nothing surprises me in politics anymore. I am proud to support Kamala because she has a proven track record as a fighter for Californians and the right temperament to be our next U.S. Senator,” she said.

Last month, Sanchez attended the committee’s “informational luncheon” as a special guest. The PAC was formed this spring to help Sanchez advance into the Nov. 8 runoff with Harris. It is being guided by Mollrich, a one-time adviser to ex-Republican Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson. Mollrich said he isn’t concerned about the reference to Boxer because she has endorsed Harris.

Separately, the group addressed its motivation for the radio spot. Al Stokke, the spokesman for California’s New Frontier, agreed that all of the major statewide polls indicate a third or more Republicans might sit this race out.

“But,” Stokke said, “Our internal poll shows that they will vote for Loretta Sanchez by a margin of 6 to 1 once the difference between the candidates is presented to them.”

Harris last week launched her first TV ads of the fall contest designed to highlight her work on elementary school truancy, her plan for more affordable higher education and her efforts prosecuting child predators.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago