John Cox, a Republican candidate for governor in California, released a new online advertisement attacking Democratic candidate Antonio Villaraigosa.
Cox’s online ad focuses on Villaraigosa’s action in 2008 when he defended Esteban Nuñez, the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez. At the time, the young Nuñez was charged of murder and assault of a deadly weapon.
The GOP gubernatorial candidate asked, “Why did Democrat candidate for Governor Antonio Villaraigosa ask for a murderer to go free?
Cronyism and corruption of the worst kind
The ad showed a picture of the grieving parents of Luis Santos, the student who died of stabbing by Esteban and his friend Ryan Jett. Alongside their picture were the words of then Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, expressing his support for Esteban. It reads, “In my heart, I know Esteban Nuñez as a young man of good and upright character.”
Additionally, the ad pointed out that because of Esteban’s political connections he had the opportunity to plead guilty for manslaughter. For the same reason, he served shorter than his sentence of 16 years in prison.
During his last day in office in 2011, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted Esteban’s sentence to seven years.
In a post on Facebook, Cox said, “This is cronyism and corruption of the worst kind.” he added that California voters cannot trust Villaraigosa to put their interest over his political allies.
California law enforcement associations endorsed Villaraigosa
In response, Villaraigosa’s spokesman, Luis Vizcaino, said Cox launched that attack after the former mayor received significant endorsements.
He said, “This attack comes the same week the state’s two most important law enforcement organizations endorsed Antonio Villaraigosa for governor.”
The California Police Chiefs Association and the Peace Officers Research Association endorsed the Democratic candidate.
In addition, Vizcaino emphasized that Villaraigosa reduced violent crimes by almost 50% during his tenure as a mayor.
Furthermore, he said Villaraigosa “was one of 70 individuals who supported the idea that a young man, who made a terrible mistake, still deserved a fair and proper bail and would honor the terms of his bail — which he did.”