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Newsom attacks Maldonado in first paid ad of lieutenant governor's race

September 25, 2010 |  9:50 am

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has launched the first paid advertisement of the lieutenant governor's race -- a 60-second radio spot that attacks the Republican incumbent, Abel Maldonado, for voting to cut funding to public schools and supporting "the biggest tax increase in California history."  

It's an aggressive first move for Newsom, a Democrat, who polls have shown is locked in a statistical dead heat with Maldonado. The ad, which mentions Maldonado by name seven times, features a woman talking to her husband about the lieutenant governor's contest. 

"He's a career Sacramento legislator who hasn't been straight with us on either budget or taxes," the woman says of Maldonado, a reference to the Republican's support last year of the state budget, which reduced education funding and raised state taxes. 

Maldonado, then a state senator, had previously promised not to raise taxes. But after negotiations, he provided the final vote to help pass the Democratic-backed plan. 

Maldonado's campaign responded to the radio ad with a defense of his role in the budget negotiations. "To tackle the state budget problem, Abel Maldonado made tough decisions to prevent the state's fiscal situation from getting even worse," the statement read. It also attacked Newsom for making bad economic decisions as mayor of San Francisco, alleging that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars caring for illegal immigrant criminals and buying expensive furniture for his City Hall office. 

In the radio ad (click here to listen), Newsom is absent until the very end, when his voice comes in to take credit for paying for the spot. It appears to have been modeled after the "Harry and Louise" television advertising campaign from 1993 and 1994, which took aim at then-President Bill Clinton's proposed healthcare reforms. A Newsom campaign spokesman, Dan Newman, said the new spot was "likely to be the first of many conversations voters will hear from the couple."

Maldonado's campaign says it plans to release ads in October. 

-- Kate Linthicum