Misleading CV Campaign Mailer Depicts Candidate with Family that Isn’t His

By Alberto Garcia
Investigative Reporter

Voters in Chula Vista received a campaign mailer this week with a front page picture of a candidate, a woman, and two young children in what would appear to be a family portrait, but the woman is not his wife or partner, and the kids are not his children.

The campaign literature, in support of Ammar Campa-Najjar, 33, who is running in the race to decide the next Mayor of Chula Vista in the southbay area of San Diego County, does not identify the woman or the children, giving the impression of a family portrait that is commonly used in political campaigns.

Campa-Najjar, who lost two campaigns for Congress in 2018 and 2020 in the East County’s 50th Congressional district, shifted to run for Chula Vista Mayor earlier this year. He graduated from Eastlake High School and worked at Eastlake Church as a teenager.

Actual mailer sent to voters

Although he lists a Sacramento mailing address on his official candidate filings, Campa-Najjar has been living at an Eastlake condominium owned by his grandmother because he does not rent or own a home in Chula Vista. During his congressional campaigns, Campa-Najjar listed a residential address in the East County community of Jamul.

The picture from the mailer is also on Campa-Najjar’s campaign website with the caption “Ammar and his Family” without identifying the woman and children. Another picture on the website with Campa-Najjar and the two boys is captioned “Ammar and his godchildren.”

Picture from Campa-Najjar website

Campa-Najjar did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The campaign mailer was paid for by an independent expenditure committee named “Residents for a Brighter Chula Vista” established exclusively to help elect Campa-Najjar. The committee’s treasurer is Mason Inocentes, the son of former Otay Water District trustee Tony Inocentes.

The committee has reported raising over $116,000 from only six sources, including checks for $49,999 from Robert Hamilton of Carlsbad; a $25,000 from Enrique Esparza of Chula Vista and a $25,000 check from his company, Co-Production International in Otay Mesa; and $5,000 checks from Patricia Eng, Jorge Kuri Rendon, and Luis Magallon from Chula Vista.

Although Chula Vista’s campaign contribution limits to a candidate for Mayor are capped at $360 per person, independent committees are not restricted by the local rules.

A similar campaign piece became controversial in a 1990 election for the State Assembly when Assemblyman Jeff Marston used a picture of himself, a woman, and dog walking on the beach to give the impression he was married, but the woman was just a supporter used for the picture. Marston, who was unmarried at the time, was criticized for attempting to mislead voters.

Marston had been elected in a special election on June 5, 1990, but lost the re-election campaign on November 6, 1990 after using the misleading photo. He only served in the Assembly for 177 days.

Although Campa-Najjar is unmarried and has no children, he has been dating local Democratic Congresswoman Sara Jacobs since 2019, but she does not appear on any of his campaign literature or as an official endorsement on his website. Jacobs is not the woman in the campaign picture.

Congresswoman Sara Jacobs

Jacobs, the granddaughter of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, currently represents the 53rd Congressional District which includes Eastern Chula Vista, Bonita, Spring Valley, and La Mesa, but she will now be running for the newly-redrawn 51st District which no longer includes Chula Vista.

Campa-Najjar, a registered Democrat, was criticized in October 2020 for a live-stream interview he held with Defend East County, a known far-right group whose followers regularly promote right-wing conspiracy theories, make racist statements, and publicly called for violence against Black Lives Matter protesters. Campa-Najjar and the group’s leader, Justin Haskins, smoked cigars and drank during the interview.

KPBS Video of Campa-Najjar with Hawkins during the interview

Hawkinks later attended the January 6th protest at the US Capitol Building, saying at the time that “well over a million people” were in D.C. to force Congress to reject the Electoral College outcome.

During that interview, Campa-Najjar said he would not have voted to impeach President Trump, that he would have voted to confirm both Supreme Court appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett who were nominated by President Trump, and that he was not sure whether he would be voting for Trump or Biden just weeks before the 2020 election.

During that same period, as Campa-Najjar worked to garner voter from conservative East County voters, he expressed in a Facebook exchange that he did not “support legal or illegal abortion”, taking a position that seemed at odds with his endorsement by Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice PAC, and other pro-choice groups, including the Democratic Party and several prominent elected officials.

Facebook post by Campa-Najjar

During the last weeks of the 2020 campaign, Campa-Najjar also used a 2015 picture with Donald Trump to position himself as a moderate that was not beholden to either party. He also posted a picture of himself with President Barack Obama.

Campa-Najjar is one of six candidates for Chula Vista Mayor, including Councilman John McCann, Councilwoman Jill Galvez, former Councilman Rudy Ramirez, Zaneta Encarnacion, and Spencer Cash.

The election will be held on June 7th, but absentee voting will begin next week when ballots arrive in the mail. Mail ballots must be received or postmarked by the day of the election.

10 comments on “Misleading CV Campaign Mailer Depicts Candidate with Family that Isn’t His

We would like to add this deceptive mailer to our online archive of political mail sent and received in San Diego County. Do you have a full photo? Front and back? If so, could you submit it to our site? http://politicalpropaganda.org/?page_id=1070619

Victor Chavez

Thank you Alberto for exposing this fraud. Ammar Najjar is an opportunist in search of any public office; first Congress and now Mayor. He should first get a job and then start at the bottom: dog-catcher.

Isn’t this a cluster( you know what). Do they think we can’t read? I want to meet with this candidates for Mayor and council. I want to ask each of them the same 6 questions! When can this be set up CV MAYOR or City Council. And video taped on tv!

Hey Art,
Hope all is well old buddy. Rookie Reporter on this one? As an award winning journalist let me help your starving reporter out.
First I want to thank him for keeping my legacy on going in the South Bay, though as you know I live in the Chula Vista Sister City of Cebu City in the PH for 16+ years. But I still read La Prensa from afar for chismes and entertainment. I am still waiting for you to take it to the next level.
A couple of pointers for for Alberto, those who understand California politics know a candidate CAN NOT have knowledge or be working with an Independent Expenditure committee. What was Ammar suppose to respond to if he does have a clue what the IE is up to? If the intent was to cast a shadow on Ammar, he failed! Instead he gave the perception of a rookie writer and he must not know what he is writing about.
Also for me to be listed as a Trustee of Otay Water reveals once again he has not learned even local politics at the bottom of the ballot. Board of Trustees run educational government. Otay Water District and other elected water officials are Directors, Members of a Board of Directors.
The rest of the story is really boring with no real news beyond he is supported by this IE. Having our youngest and brightest coming home to move the home town forward is not a bad thing. How many times have we criticized the children of the community for leaving is and not coming back to help?
Thanks for the promo. I have no horse in this race and l wonder why when I helped out Jill 4 years ago or Mike 2 years ago not word was printed?
If interested I am the Chief Political Consultant to 31 elected officials nationwide, with 6 mayors in Southern California. Yes, I do it all from the Philipppines with out ever landing a foot in the United States.
You can follow my ePolitical USA Podcasts on Spotify, Google, Amazon and other platforms My podcast will be doing a review on San Diego County races May 12, 2022. at 7 p.m. here is the most recent podcast link=> https://bit.ly/3vXhi7j and the RSS Feed => https://bit.ly/3kPuFzV

Keep well my old friend.

Tony Inocentes, Sr

KB Colclasure

Are we sure this information is not more political “misinformation”, or politics as usual? What are the sources of this news?
I’m not disputing the report – its just that it is so blatantly negative, it rings like so much of what we hear in much of the media anymore.

Mr. Inocentes: Thank you for continuing to follow LPSD even from the Philippines. We have many Filipino readers here and abroad. As for you incorrect title, thank you for bringing that to our attention. Of coure our article mentioned that the mailer was sent by an independent campaign committee, but the original picture was posted by Mr. Campa-Najjar with a caption “Ammar and his family” which could have created the misperception in the first place. We always strive to be as accurate as possible in our article. Thank you for helping us in that effort. LPSD editorial staff

Minnie Rzeslawski

Sorry to read this negative article. Just to be clear Ammar is my nephew and as family we are extremely tight knit. All the Campa family are very family oriented. These folks are his family. That’s my daughter Bianca and my nephews sons, Ammars cousin kids and god sons. That’s just to show you how close we are that his cousin had him be his sons Godfather and not another stranger. We are a large family that always rides together. So as an investigator reporter it doesn’t give you much clout now does it? Learn your trade and be good at it instead of chismes.

Bernardo Vasquez

Campa-Najjar should use the same playbook that Nathan Fletcher used to get elected- ride on the heels of his popular and prominent significant other!

Lifetime CV Resident

This is quite a stretch. I’ve seen the picture posted elsewhere as well, and it said it was his cousin and his godsons. To me, that IS family. He’s also been interviewed and has confirmed he is unmarried/has no kids at this time, so if residents are mislead about a simple picture on a flyer, I would have to say that is on them. Sadly, I don’t see “striving to be as accurate as possible” here. This is poor journalism at best, do better!

Thank you for your comments. The article is not to dispute that the woman and children are “family” but to inform voters that the picture, without identifying the people, would lead most people to wrongly assume it was the candidate’s partner and children. The average voter would not have any reason to believe otherwise without having to conduct additional research. We stand behind our coverage and always welcome input.

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