A week after announcing he would run only positive commercials through Election Day, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis reversed course and put an ad attacking Republican Bill Simon back on the air.
Aides to Davis, who led by 10 points in the most recent independent poll, said they revived ads Friday blasting Simon for his involvement in a failed savings and loan because the Republican reneged on a pledge to focus on issues by running negative ads of his own.
"We figured if he's going to take that tack, we're not just going to sit by idly and take it,'' Davis campaign press secretary Roger Salazar said.
Davis is now spending around $3 million a week on television advertising.
"Obviously after being governor for four years and being totally ineffective, positive ads ... are not believable,'' said Ed Rollins, senior strategist for Simon.
Speaking to supporters Saturday, Simon said he is the one feeling the brunt of the negative campaigning.
"I am told that Mr. Davis has spent more money attacking me personally with false ads ... than any other political candidate has ever endured in American political history for any position including the presidency,'' Simon said.