Republicans are criticizing Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, for apparently reusing old campaign signs during an event launching his candidacy for the 21st Congressional District.
During the event, which occurred in mid-October, some supporters could be seen holding signs that read “Rudy Salas for Congress.” The word congress appeared to have been written on tape covering the word “Assembly.” Critics contend such use is a violation of Federal Elections Commission rules, which state assets from a non-federal election campaign cannot be transferred to a federal election campaign.
Salas was questioned about the signs during a segment on KSEE 24’s Sunday Morning Matters, but did not directly answer whether the signs had been repurposed from a previous campaign.
“We had very enthusiastic people that were out there,” Salas told the Fresno-based station’s Alexian Balekian. “If anything, we know at such a rally, people are resourceful, and we had a very successful launch and people don’t want to talk about my record. I get it. People want to focus on this distraction. They want to focus on everything but who Rudy Salas is.”
The Federal Elections Commission keeps complaints it has not yet ruled on confidential, and it is unclear if the agency is looking into the matter.
Republicans have been quick to point to the issue as if it revealed a serious character flaw in Salas.
“Rudy Salas is just another dishonest politician,” National Republican Central Committee spokeswoman Torunn Sinclair said in an email. “He’s blaming others and lying instead of coming clean to Central Valley voters.”
Salas’ campaign, on the other hand, portrayed the issue as an attempt by Republicans to steer attention away from Salas’ record.
“We had a great kick-off event where Rudy focused on his record of delivering for Valley families,” a campaign spokesperson wrote in an email to The Californian. “He was the only Democrat to vote against raising the gas tax while leading on overtime pay for farm workers. Working people need higher wages, not higher taxes. Given the Washington Republican political establishment’s record on both those issues, we understand why they would prefer to talk about anything but that. This is a non-issue.”
The campaign for Rep. David Valadao, who Salas is running against for Congress, did not respond to a request for comment.
You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.