Silicon Valley lawmaker says stop the monkey business
State Assemblymember Alex Lee is pictured in this file photo.

    State Assemblymember Alex Lee is the latest victim of negative campaign monkey business.

    Over the last few weeks, the Housing Providers for Responsible Solutions political action committee (PAC) has spent nearly $1 million on mailers, ads and texts opposing Lee—about a third of what the PAC has spent this year. The PAC is largely funded by the California Association of Realtors and the California Apartment Association.

    Negative mailers and texts are certainly not new in Silicon Valley, but those sent out by the PAC have made waves on social media.

    In a recent mailer, the PAC describes Lee as “playing with monkeys and Minecraft at work — not solving problems,” referring to a popular video game Lee streamed himself playing. It also calls Lee a politician instead of a Democrat—which was used to describe his opponents Kansen Chu, who served in the Assembly before, and Fremont City Councilmember Teresa Keng. Lee is a lifelong Democrat.

    “It’s so weird,” Lee told San José Spotlight. “They just want to cause chaos, spreading misinformation, and frankly, these are some of the dirtiest tactics that people turn off from democracy.”

    The mailer also points out that Lee lives at home with mother, which according to the state lawmaker is common for young adults in his district because of economic necessity. He said it’s party why he is “so vigorously pro-housing.”

    Lee said the PAC has gone above and beyond to mislead voters and discredit the work he has done during his first term in the state Legislature because they do not like his support of affordable housing and other progressive stances. Lee is chair of the Select Committee on Social Housing, and just last week his bill on social housing passed out of the Assembly floor and is heading to the Senate.

    “This is an unusually high amount of attention they’re putting on me because they are trying to uphold the status quo,” Lee said. “They can’t buy me so they are trying to break me.”

    A Santa Clara County Association of Realtors representative said the group does not make endorsements at the state level, but endorsed more moderate business-leaning candidates in the county like mayoral candidate and San Jose Councilmember Matt Mahan, county supervisor candidate Johnny Khamis and San Jose District 3 City Council candidates Joanna Rauh and Irene Smith.

    “Candidates that support (the association’s) mission of promoting and protecting private property rights have received endorsements,” President Lisa Faria told San José Spotlight. “As for statewide races, decisions to support candidates are made at the state level by the California Association of Realtors.”

    The California Association of Realtors and the California Apartment Association did not respond to requests for comment.

    Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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