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Antonovich blasts political mailer

Posted: May 29, 2014 6:38 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2014 6:38 p.m.

A negative campaign mailer attacking state Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, on his voting record for veterans was recently received by some voters in the 25th Congressional District. Knight, who is running for the seat vacated by Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, is himself a veteran.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on Thursday blasted a recent political mailer that claimed a congressional candidate and state senator voted against veterans’ benefits but voted to raise his own pay.

“It was one of the most despicable pieces of sleaze,” Antonovich told the crowd during the annual State of the County speech at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. He said the mailer is a “distortion of the facts on a very honorable man.”

The subject of the mailer was state Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, who is running to replace longtime Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, in Tuesday’s primary.

Antonovich has endorsed Knight in that race.

“Using lies and distortion to win an election — it’s irresponsible,” Antonovich said. “And I don’t care what party the person’s in that does this type of campaign, they don’t deserve support.”

Antonovich didn’t identify the sender of the mailer, but his comments suggested he suspected another candidate in the race.

The mailer depicts a picture of a man holding a prosthetic leg with the caption “Veteran wounded in a helicopter crash in Iraq” next to a picture of Knight and the words: “Veterans feel the pain when Steve Knight votes against millions for veterans’ benefits, but votes himself a pay raise.”

The mailer includes a brief excerpt from a Los Angeles Daily News article, the date of which the mailer cites as Dec. 7, 2006. That article states Knight voted for a raise while he was a member of the Palmdale City Council

The mailer urges its readers to “check the facts” regarding the California Senate vote on a piece of legislation, Assembly Bill 110, in 2013.

“Vets have been waiting for care but Steve Knight voted no to millions in veterans’ funding but Knight couldn’t wait to vote to raise his own pay,” the mailer declares.

AB 110 was the omnibus 2013-14 Budget Act that was approved by the state Legislature and signed by the governor last year.

Knight was among a collection of senators and Assembly members, including many Republicans, to vote against the budget act, which authorized general fund expenditures of $96.3 billion.

Knight is himself an Army veteran and served as a police officer in the city of Los Angeles. His father, a famous test pilot, was an Air Force veteran.

Knight has regularly touted his commitment to veterans and veterans’ issues throughout the course of his campaign.

He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The mailer purports to be paid by the “Antelope Valley Taxpayers Association” and lists an address in Palmdale.

The association’s filings with the Federal Election Commission list an address in Sacramento.

The association’s filings note an $8,849.27 transaction with the Alameda-based Baughman Company, according to the FEC.

The purpose of that figure, according to records on file with the FEC, is a mailer to oppose Knight’s congressional bid.

Baughman Company’s website touts “clients like Hillary Clinton for President, Mike Bloomberg for Mayor, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Ohio Democratic Caucus and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe” and includes examples of mailers for a variety of different campaigns.

One of the people to receive the mailer was Santa Clarita Valley resident and veteran R.J. Kelly.

“Whether it’s veterans or active service, they’re the ones that keep us safe,” Kelly said Thursday. “And for somebody to use a disabled person as a link to tell a story — to me it’s just very disgraceful.”

The mailer says it is “not authorized by a candidate or candidate’s committee,” and two of Knight’s major challengers in Tuesday’s primary election said they had nothing to do with it.

Democratic candidate Lee Rogers said Thursday he was not involved in the mailer.

“Nobody in my campaign, anyone affiliated with us, or any Democratic groups that we know of, had anything to do with the Antelope Valley attack mailer on Senator Knight,” Rogers wrote in an email.

Rogers went on to say that the mailer appears to be “a dirty Republican intra-party battle.”

“I had nothing at all to do with it,” Republican candidate and former state Sen. Tony Strickland said of the mailer Thursday.

Strickland also said his campaign is “not at all” affiliated with the Antelope Valley Taxpayers Association.

Strickland, Knight and Rogers are the three front-runners on Tuesday’s primary ballot.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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