Politics

3 similar letters from 3 political wives hit California mailboxes

FILE PHOTO: As residents get ready to vote in the general election, some are receiving letters seeking to influence their vote in three separate races.
FILE PHOTO: As residents get ready to vote in the general election, some are receiving letters seeking to influence their vote in three separate races.
Patrick Semansky/AP
FILE PHOTO: As residents get ready to vote in the general election, some are receiving letters seeking to influence their vote in three separate races.
A collage feature mailers sent out opposing Mike Antonovich, as well as the opening of a letter from his wife, Christine Antonovich.
KPCC's #WhoMailedIt project


The attacks on their husbands have gone too far.

“The attacks on my husband, Mike Antonovich, have gone too far.”

“The attacks on my husband, Scott Jones, have gone too far.”

“The attacks on my husband, Jeff Denham, have gone too far."

Those three statements, made in identical fonts on identical letterhead, were mailed in three separate letters dated Oct. 22 to voters who live hundreds of miles away from each other, seeking to influence three separate races.

The first was sent to voters in California’s 25th Senate District in Los Angeles County by Christine Antonovich on behalf of her husband, Mike. The second was mailed to Sacramento County voters from Christy Jones in support of her husband’s congressional bid. And the third was sent by Sonia Denham in the midst of a her husband's congressional race in Stanislaus County. 

All three candidates are Republicans.

The Antonovich letter was collected through KPCC’s #WhoMailedIt project, and the Denham and Jones letters were published in the L.A. Times.

https://twitter.com/a_mendelson/status/791721100329689089

The similarities are not coincidental. The Times reported that consultant Dave Gilliard worked with the campaigns of Jeff Denham and Scott Jones, who are both running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Mike Antonovich is running for the California state Senate.

Gilliard and a spokesperson for California Republicans did not respond to KPCC requests for an interview.

RELATED: KPCC fact-checks the claims on political mailers

Mike Antonovich, who has served on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors since 1980, is now looking to move into the open state Senate seat in the 25th District, which represents Pasadena, Burbank and parts of L.A. Antonovich is facing Democratic former Assemblymember Anthony Portantino.

The two men's campaigns are duking it out through the U.S. Mail, with Christine Antonovich's letter firing back at a steady stream of negative claims made about her husband in glossy mailers.

The mailers paint her husband as an ideological twin to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, part of a trend this election season in California. Some mailers allege a history of racist and sexist comments by Antonovich, and one mailer cites critical statements he made about Martin Luther King Jr. 46 years ago. The negative mailers have come from the California Democratic Party, outside groups and the Portantino campaign.

Mike Antonovich's campaign manager, Chris Marsh, told KPCC, "Portantino is insulting the intelligence of voters with his sleazy campaign. People in this community know Mike Antonovich and will not be deceived so easily."

The letter from Christine Antonovich echoes that sentiment. "It is sad that [Portantino] feels so desperate that he needs to stoop so low."

Portantino himself has been the subject of negative attacks. One mailer sent out by the state GOP says that Portantino is "Wrong on Health Care. Wrong on Schools. Wrong for Senate." Another, sent out by Antonovich's own campaign, gives Portantino an F for his record on college tuition, school funding and needy kids.

Antonovich, unsurprisingly, gets straight A's in his own campaign mailer.

A mailer sent to a Pasadena voter, collected as part of #WhoMailedIt.
A mailer sent to a Pasadena voter, collected as part of #WhoMailedIt.
Mike Antonovich campaign

Christine Antonovich's missive depicts her husband as a dyed-in-the-wool Southern Californian, from his upbringing in South L.A. to his work in education and law enforcement in the region.

That section of the letter, and a postscript in which Christine Antonovich writes about her experiences as an immigrant, are tailored to her own life. So was the picture of the Antonovich family included in the letter, which depicts the smiling family in a sunlit living room.

But that family portrait wasn't the only one to hit inboxes in California. The Times reported that the mailers from the wives of congressional candidates included family portraits, too.