Voters say enough to negative campaigning

Voters say enough to negative campaigning

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif - We are less than a week away from the primary election and local candidates are working  overtime to try to earn your vote.  However voters we talked with aren't too happy about the way they are going about it. Many complaining, this year's campaigns are too negative. 

"I don't read them frankly, I really don't pay any attention to them," said Palm Springs voter Richard Lorence.

Headlines like, "Can you afford Manuel Perez?" and "3.5 million reasons to vote no on John Benoit," are defining local campaigns.

"It gets people's attention and it does change minds, we all hate to think that but it does," said Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit. 

Benoit, who is running for re-election against Manuel Perez, says he tries to stay positive, but can't let an attack go un answered. 

"You can't stay in the game and just take it and hope to win on the good will of people," said Benoit. 

Benoit says voters need to be informed.

"Actual votes and things that were done by my opponent in office that I think had a direct impact, I think it's fair to point those out but I do want to try to avoid when ever possible a personal attack," said Benoit.

Bonnie Garcia, running for the new state senate seat in district 28, wants voters to know what she calls "criminal behavior" from one of her opponents, Jeff Stone. She points to road rage incident where Stone, currently a county supervisor, flashed a fake badge to get another car to pull over.  A Riverside County Sheriff's report confirms that did happen, but no charges were filed. 

Stone apologized in this statement:

     "In the incident last year, I had a driver yelling profanities at me and following my car for several miles. We have seen many road rage incidents that have ended up with someone hurt or killed. In my desperation I revealed my Supervisor identification and badge to the enraged driver to calm down the incident. While the driver and I each ultimately apologized to each other, I own the fact that showing the badge was not using good judgment even though the incident that could have become more serious was peacefully solved. I have returned my badge to the trophy cabinet where it will stay and humbly ask my constituents to forgive my lapse in judgment." 

Stone goes on to state, "Ms. Garcia's attempt to exploit this incident for her own political purposes by filing a frivolous lawsuit is an abuse of the taxpayers."

Glenn Miller, who is also in that race, has stayed out of it saying this is not the way campaigns should be run.

"What are you going to do for us now, I think that's what people really need to get back to, how can we get back down to civility? How can we let the residents decide by what is important to them by answering the questions that are important to them?" said Miller. 

In the Riverside District Attorney race, cell phone video has taken center stage.  Incumbent Paul Zellerbach is now under investigation for using county property to put up campaign signs, a possible felony that his opponent Mike Hestrin wants voters to know about. 

Voters we talked with say enough is enough. 

"It doesn't work for me, I am just completely turned off when I see a real negative ad of any kind," said Lorence. 

"We should just go on people's records and what they stand for not what somebody else did wrong that's how I feel," said Banning voter Don Forhane.

We connected Manuel Perez, Bonnie Garcia, and Bonnie Garcia, they were not available for an interview.

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