Gaines targeted by PAC

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A Pasadena-based committee has spent more than $30,000 this past week in support of underdog Democrat Dennis Campanale’s District 4 Assembly campaign against Republican Beth Gaines. The Opportunity Political Action Committee filed three expenditure reports with the Secretary of States Office starting Tuesday showing expenditures on mass mail outs totaling $38,000. The mailers criticize Beth Gaines for running for the Assembly seat previously held by her husband, Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville. Ted Gaines stepped down to be sworn in as District 1 state senator last January. “The Gaines family is taking another opportunity to feed at the public trough,” and “They will reap the benefits of two state paychecks,” the mailers state, quoting from recent letters to the editor published in the Roseville Press-Tribune and a major regional daily. Beth Gaines’ campaign manager Andre Levesque said Friday he finds it interesting that a special interest group with no ties to the local community is running what he describes as a smear campaign. There is no mention on the mailers to vote for Campanale, who said earlier this week that his chances of beating Gaines were “slight.” Levesque said the mailers were little more than a last-minute attempt to smear the front runner. “It looks like union money,” Levesque said. “And they didn’t support the other candidate. There has been no attempt to get the other candidate elected. Just to smear the conservative candidate.” Levesque added that the mailers “won’t have any traction” because Campanale wasn’t able to raise the funds to put a candidate statement on the ballot and hasn’t campaigned. Campanale was contacted Friday but didn’t return a phone call. A call to the phone number the Opportunity PAC listed on its expenditure filing was not returned. But Democratic Party blogger Steven Maviglio wrote on the California Majority Report blog that the PAC, which receives contributions from the California Federation of Teachers, the California Faculty Association and the California School Employees Association, is also planning a door-to-door campaign targeted at likely voters. Campanale has said previously that he could upset Gaines if he can pull in decline-to-state voters and moderate Republicans who object to Gaines running to fill her husband’s seat. He polled 31.3 percent of the vote in the primary election among eight candidates March 8 – setting up the runoff with Gaines, who placed second, with 22.7 percent of the vote. But all the other District 4 candidates were Republicans, and they polled 68 percent of the vote. Gaines has raised more than $232,000 since the start of the year for her campaign while Campanale has raised less than $5,000.