Political ads escalate between David Valadao and Rudy Salas

Democratic State Assemblyman Rudy Salas is vying for US Republican Representative David Valadao's Valley seat.

Thursday, September 29, 2022
Political ads escalate between David Valadao and Rudy Salas
The battle of political TV ads is escalating between Valley Congressman David Valadao and South Valley Assemblyman Rudy Salas.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Political TV Attack Ads have started and may be here to stay for the next month.

This week, two candidates waged a war of words.

Democratic State Assemblyman Rudy Salas is vying for US Republican Representative David Valadao's Valley seat.

Valadao went on the air with a new ad for his re-election campaign with many negative allegations about Salas.

On Wednesday, Salas held a press conference alongside California Attorney General Rob Bonta, demanding that Valadao retract his ad.

"This is one of the biggest lies voters will see in this campaign," Salas said.

The ad calls out Salas for "increasing the price of lifesaving medicine that cancer patients need."

Now, he wants an apology to victims of the opiod crisis, while Bonta is calling the claim a lie.

"That could not be further the truth," Bonta said. "It's really a sad day when hoping to solve the opioid crisis is used in an attack ad. This was a solution to address the challenge of the opioid epidemic throughout our state, and there is nothing in the bill whatsoever that raises the cost of prescription drugs."

In response, Valadao's spokesperson says, "Most of the time, Rudy Salas doesn't even bother to show up to vote, but when he does, he takes every opportunity to raise costs on Central Valley families' drugs, gas, and groceries. Voters will continue to hear more in this campaign about the ways Rudy puts himself and special interests ahead of voters."

We spoke with political expert Dr. Lisa Bryant from Fresno State.

She stresses the importance of doing your own research. Often on ads, there are sources to help you fact check.

She believes these two candidates are walking a fine line.

"When Salas says it's not even true, it's not going to raise the cost of the dollar, he's betting on the fact that it won't," she said. "They're betting on the fact that it will and so the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle."

Dr. Bryant says the Central Valley is a hot market for campaign ads and there are big ad buys this year because candidates are trying to target voters across different districts.

While the political ads can start feeling overwhelming, she says the negative campaigns may get a bigger bang for their buck.

"People are more easily able to recall a negative campaign ad than a positive campaign ad, so there are mixed results on whether or not they are effective or more persuasive, but they are more memorable and people can recall them easier," she said.

While the ad wars will not be ending any time soon, Bryant says there's no strong evidence to indicate higher voter turnout at the polls this November.

Rep. Salas also responded to the other allegations:

"He missed 450 votes in the assembly?"

"Over the course of Assemblymember Rudy Salas's Career in the Assembly, he has voted on over 19,155 pieces of legislation. This is an example of focusing on a nonissue and trying to make hay of it. David Valadao has also missed plenty of votes, but we're focusing on the votes he did take. Including voting for a $7.25 minimum wage, against capping the price of insulin, and repealing protections for people with preexisting conditions like asthma and diabetes."

"He showed up to increase the price of gas to $.73 a gallon"

"Salas was the only Assembly Democrat to vote no on raising the gas tax in 2017, and again in May of this year, he voted to suspend the gas tax for a year. No one has a clearer record of opposing higher gas taxes than Rudy Salas."

"He voted to increase the cost of groceries, diapers, and housing..." (AB192)

"AB192 was a bill to provide relief to low- and middle-income families in the Central Valley struggling with costs. Nothing within the bill increases the costs of groceries, diapers, or housing. This is yet another lie."