With all the contested primary contests in Ventura County this spring, it is surprising that the first report of campaign mail comes in a district in which there is no meaningful competition until November -- and that the mail comes from independent expenditure committee at that.
Two pieces, at a cost of about $11,000 each, were sent out last week by the California Tribal Business Alliance PAC touting Democratic state Sen. Fran Pavley for her "quiet leadership" in Sacramento. The mailers feature newspaper headlines and excerpts from stories about her efforts to establish carbon tailpipe emissions standards for cars and to enact regulatory reform.
Pavley is running for re-election in the 27th District, which includes a lot of new territory for her, including eastern Ventura County (her current district includes Oxnard and Port Hueneme). So the mailings to Ventura County voters appear to be an attempt to favorably introduce her to new voters. One stresses that she is a former teacher in the Moorpark School District.
The curious thing about the timing is that Pavley has absolutely nothing to worry about in the June 5 primary. There is only one other candidate on the ballot -- Republican Todd Zink of Westlake Village. Because the top two vote-getters advance to the November ballot regardless of the outcome in June, both are guaranteed to advance beyond the primary.
The Tribal Business Alliance is funded by Indian gaming tribes, principally from Northern California. The only other race it has become involved in is a Sacramento-area Assembly contest, in which it purchased $25,000 in radio advertising to attack Republican Andy Pugno -- a leader in 2008's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 campaign who is running in a contested GOP race.
(Note: An earlier version of this post reported that the Assembly race expenditure was in support of Pugno.)