Less than a week before California’s June 5 primary, the independent expenditure group backing former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s gubernatorial run has launched its first ads against frontrunner Gavin Newsom.
The ads are the first sustained hits on Newsom, the lieutenant governor and former San Francisco mayor.
“We all know guys like Gavin,” one ad opens. “Boasting, overselling his achievements.”
The ads come from an outside group run by charter schools and funded by a handful of billionaires — a group that’s now raised more than $20 million.
Villaraigosa is trying to edge past Republican businessman John Cox into second place to earn a spot in the November general election under California’s top-two primary system.
One of the bigger mysteries of the governor’s race so far has been why rival Democrats and the charters group have essentially given Newsom a free pass.
According to a vote-by-mail tracker from a prominent political data firm, voters have already returned nearly one-and-a-half million vote-by-mail ballots — which raises the question of whether these new ads are too little, too late.