Dave Jones concedes to Angelique Ashby after bitter fight for Sacramento Senate seat

Sara Nevis/snevis@sacbee.com

Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby is headed to the California Senate after her opponent conceded Tuesday, ending one of 2022’s most contentious legislative races.

Former insurance commissioner Dave Jones announced he had called Ashby “to wish her well as the new Senator for District 8.”

“For over a decade, I have fought hard for Sacramento families, and I decided the best way for me to continue doing the most good for as many people as possible was to take that fight to the state Capitol,” Ashby said in a statement. “I could not be more honored that the people of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Elverta and Rio Linda have chosen me to represent them in the State Senate – and that I will be the first woman in 20 years to do so.”

Jones conceded the race just before Sacramento County posted its first updated results since Nov. 22. The Tuesday count showed Ashby leading by 6,731 votes, a margin that has grown steadily since the Nov. 8 election.

The two Democrats had been battling since before the June primary to replace term-limited Sen. Richard Pan, who has represented the Sacramento area since 2014.

The race was nasty and expensive, producing mailboxes full of attack ads and millions of dollars in special interest spending. Oil companies and business interests backed Ashby, while labor groups and environmentalists supported Jones.

Much of the special interest money came in the form of independent expenditures, ad campaigns that political action committees are required by law to coordinate separately from candidates and their staff.

Even in his concession message, Jones could not resist drawing attention to oil and business PACs that disparaged him while supporting Ashby, claiming that dynamic cost him the election.

“The unrestricted ability of special interests to buy elections with lies is the single biggest cause of dysfunction in politics,” Jones said in a statement. “It is chipping away at the foundation of our democratic government.”