Ron Nehring, the Republican challenger to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has launched his first video ad, claiming Newsom’s policies will lead to more drug addiction.
Nehring spokeswoman Nyna Armstrong said the ad will run online only, at least for now. “Then, we’ll decide what our ad buy will be based on the response that we get.”
Newsom campaign spokesman Sean Clegg seemed angry that a reporter had contacted him seeking comment.
“This is not an ad,” he replied by email. “This is a video produced to hoodwink journalists into writing that he has an ad. There is no real TV buy. If I send you the video my eight-year-old son made will you post that too?”
Nehring’s ad features a series of women speaking to the camera. “In America, one baby is born addicted to drugs every hour. More lives destroyed. If Gavin Newsom gets his way, drug abuse in California will skyrocket. More women addicted to drugs.”
“These are our daughters. Mothers. Sisters. Friends,” it continues. “You can’t be pro-woman, and be pro-more women addicted to drugs. There’s nothing Democratic. Nothing progressive. About addiction.”
Yet Nehring’s ad never mentions how Newsom’s policies would further drug addiction.
Newsom last year was tapped to head the American Civil Liberties Union’s panel studying marijuana legalization in California, with an eye toward drafting a measure for 2016’s presidential-year ballot. He said at the time, and has reiterated since, that he can’t support a status quo of high prison and police costs associated with marijuana enforcement that disproportionately affects minority communities. He recently said the same on KQED’s “Forum” radio show, saying he favors taxing and regulating marijuana to keep it out of children’s hands.
The jury is still out on whether recent recreational legalization in Colorado and Washington state have led to increased use or abuse, with organizations and agencies on both side offering conflicting reports.
Nehring, a former state GOP chairman from El Cajon, offered a 2010 RAND Corp. study to bolster his claim that “drug abuse in California will skyrocket;” the study actually projected “consumption will increase, but it is unclear how much.”
Nehring issued a statement saying California faces big challenges with poverty, unemployment and failing schools, and “we don’t solve them by swinging wide open the doors for more drug abuse and dependency. That’s a distraction that takes our state in exactly the wrong direction.”
Nehring said he supports reforming drug policy by focusing on treatment instead of imprisonment, as the Project SAM organization advocates. “Gavin Newsom will claim that there are only two choices: the status quo or his legalization idea. Yet, there is a third and better way that puts the emphasis on treatment while avoiding creating the conditions that will lead to skyrocketing addiction in California.”
Newsom differs from several prominent fellow Democrats such as Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who oppose legalization. Attorney General Kamala Harris has said California should wait and learn from Colorado and Washington, while her Republican challenger, Ron Gold, is more forthright in his support of legalization.