Capitol Alert

Capitol has prominent role in ads for Central Valley seat

Tumbleweeds, bill votes and legislative scandals get prominent roles in TV ads airing in a competitive state Senate race in the Central Valley.

State Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, who won a hard-fought special election in July 2013, is running for a full term against Fresno school board member Luis Chavez, a Democrat, in the Fresno-to-Bakersfield 14th Senate District.

Democrats, who hold a 20-percentage point registration edge in the district, have poured in money to help Chavez, whose campaign has raised more than $900,000 since Aug. 1. Vidak has raised $385,000 during that time. Both campaigns have started running TV commercials.

As a tumbleweed blows across the screen, a new Vidak ad links Chavez to incoming Senate leader Kevin de León and the Los Angeles Democrat’s description of the valley as a place where “no one lives out there in the tumbleweeds.” The ad then segues to the indictments of Democratic state senators Ron Calderon and Leland Yee on corruption charges and the conviction of former state Sen. Rod Wright for lying about where he lived on candidacy papers.

“Chavez is taking campaign money from other liberal legislators equally clueless about our valley,” the narrator says. “And those same Chavez supporters wouldn’t expel three senators indicted for serious felony crimes.”

Chavez has released a pair of anti-Vidak ads. One hits the senator for his opposition to legislation to raise the minimum wage, require paid sick leave, and a bill that supporters say would have helped workers recover stolen wages. A second commercial criticizes Vidak for voting against measures that proponents say would deliver more healthcare money to the valley and increase medical privacy rules.

“But since Vidak went to Sacramento, he votes with the special interests and not for us,” the narrator said. “Sen. Andy Vidak – just another Sacramento politician.”