New attack ad against Susan Bonilla is paid for
by a conservative IE so conservative it opposes
some of the most conservative pols in the country.

STATE SENTATE | DISTRICT 7 | It seems being a member of the California Legislature makes you a sitting target when seeking higher office. A rash of public ethics allegations against sitting members of the State Senate made running against Sacramento a prime strategy during last year’s election cycle.

And with a seat in the Seventh State Senate District up for grabs this month, an independent expenditure group unveiled a television ad that echoes the content and style of an attack ad utilized last spring by Rep, Eric Swalwell against primary challenger and now former State Sen. Ellen Corbett.

The 30-second spot paid for by Independent Women’s Voice charges Bonilla, a Democrat who is running against fellow Democrat Steve Glazer in the May 19 special election, as being fiscally irresponsible.

The ad uses snappy graphics to illustrate Bonilla spending excessively on a previous re-election campaign despite running unopposed and receiving over $44,000 in gifts from special interests, including trips to Hawaii, Italy and Taiwan. All the while a static photo of a smiling Bonilla periodically blinks after each charge.

Similarly, Swalwell’s re-election campaign paid for a similar ad titled, “Gaming the System” to illustrate Corbett as spendthrift with taxpayers’ money and absent from the Legislature. In addition, the ad uses the same type of graphical representation to mock the challenger. In Swalwell’s video, the information is offered using a three-dimensional Monopoly game board.

Despite some factual errors, Swalwell’s ad was extremely successful in contributing to Corbett’s surprise third-place finish in last June’s primary. If the attack ad against Bonilla gets enough play, it could also have the same effect in this expensive and closely fought state senate race. However, any traction could be blunted by exposing the IE behind the anti-Bonilla ad.

In the past, Independent Women’s Voice has spent almost exclusively on supporting conservative candidates and issues. The group’s website clearly notes its opposition to the Affordable Care Act, but, just how conservative is Independent Women’s Voice? Very much so.

According to OpenSecrets, an online database for tracking the nexus between special interests money and candidates, Independent Women’s Voice spent more than $586,000 to support Republican last year, but also spent over $209,000 against incumbent Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, a very conservative Republican who staved off an insurgent primary challenger who charged him with not being conservative enough and out-of-touch with voters.