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After New Disclosures, Williams Suddenly Reverses Course and Calls on IE Committee to Stop Attacks


Das Williams asked the independent campaign committee supporting his re-election to “stop the negative attacks” on rival Laura Capps last night, less than an hour after Newsmakers posted our latest column about the group.


“I am publicly asking all of my supporters - directly tied to my campaign or otherwise - to please stop the negative attacks and focus on our individual records of service and plans for the future,” the First District Supervisor said in an email statement.


“This type of negative campaigning has no place in our politics,” he said.


Das’s sudden and surprising move was an abrupt departure from the position he took last week, after Capps had demanded he renounce the attacks that “Central Coast Residents Supporting Das Williams for Supervisor” committee had launched at her.


Last Friday, Williams said In an interview that he could not do so because it would be improper to communicate in any way with the committee, which is legally required to operate independently of his campaign.


“That would defeat the spirit of independent expenditure committees — I’m literally not allowed to talk to them about that," he said then, adding that he instead put up a Facebook post asking his supporters to “stay positive.”


Last night, however, soon after Newsmakers reported about substantial new special interest contributions to the committee, Williams changed his mind.


“There has been an independent expenditure committee formed by people who are supporting my re-election,” his statement said.


“I cannot coordinate or communicate with these people about the committee in accordance with state law. However, I do want to state publicly and very clearly, that this committee is resorting to tactics that I do not agree with and that I have not and would not practice in my own campaign.”



State of play. As a political matter, Williams’ flip-flop on the IE makes sense if his campaign is receiving feedback suggesting that the anti-Capps attacks are counter-productive; after Newsmakers’ first piece detailing the operations of the committee was reposted on EdHat, for example, there were dozens of critical comments posted beneath it about him and the committee.


With two weeks left before the March 3 election, a continuing drip-drip of disclosures about the committee’s latest contributions and campaign spending would pose risks in a race in which Williams appears to be confident he currently is ahead.


The committee, which is operated by three prominent local political consultants, of course, is under no obligation to stop what it has been doing. According to campaign finance reports, the committee already has paid for nearly $10,000 worth of mailers and radio ads.


But it would be surprising if the operatives behind it, all allies of Williams, did not abide by his stated wishes.


JR


Images: Sudden Stop (Amazon); Das Williams (Santa Maria Times).

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