Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones – facing persistent criticism from Democratic Rep. Ami Bera over recently revealed allegations he made unwanted advances toward a sheriff’s deputy more than a decade ago – has turned to his wife to defend his character.
Christy Jones has not sat for media interviews about the allegations, which her husband has strongly denied in sworn court statements and interviews. But in letters received last week by 7th Congressional District voters across suburban Sacramento, Jones’ wife wrote that the attacks on her husband have “gone too far.”
Christy Jones said Bera’s TV ads featuring news footage of the deputy’s allegations are “so low” she had a hard time believing they would be used in a campaign. She characterized her husband as a “real gentleman,” loving husband and doting father of four.
“Here is the truth,” she wrote. “The ads from Ami Bera are false and disgusting.”
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Dave Gilliard, Jones’ campaign strategist, said Christy Jones signed off on the letters because she was upset about the “personal attacks” and wanted to know what she could do, if anything.
“She is a private person and not a public figure, so we ruled out a press conference or TV ad,” Gilliard said. “We suggested a recorded call or letter. She wanted to do the letter and to specifically speak to what kind of man and father he is.”
Spouses vouching for their politician other halves are not new in politics. Sonia Denham, the wife of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, used similar language in her recent missive to voters in that district. In 1994, the ex-wife of Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, authored a letter accusing his opponent at the time, now-Democratic Rep. Mark Takano, of falsely accusing Calvert of abusing her. “Yes, our marriage had problems but not the kind he is implying,'” Robin Calvert wrote at the time.
Bera’s campaign issued a prepared response, blasting the Jones campaign for the letter: “Jones’ mailer smacks of the worst kind of disingenuous, insincere politics, meant to do nothing more than confuse and mislead voters,” said spokeswoman Annie Ellison. “Scott Jones has run out of excuses for his pattern of disrespect toward women, and it’s frankly an insult to voters to be this dishonest and expect voters to buy it.”
In the only debate of the contest, Scott Jones directly confronted Bera over whether the incumbent was proud of his campaign, suggesting it was deeply negative.
“I can tell you for me, on Nov. 9, whether I win or lose, I will be extremely proud of the campaign that I’ve run,” Jones said.