At least one claim in an attack ad against Pedro Rios -- the Republican candidate for the 32nd state Assembly District -- indisputably holds up: he did not vote in elections from 2007-2011.
That's according to the Kern County Elections Division and Rios himself. Rios said he was out of the country -- working on farming operations in Argentina.
"Even though my focus on the farming business was intense at the time, I could have and should have made the effort to get an absentee ballot," he says.
But Rios' camp called another claim in the ad -- that he took advantage of a veterans program -- unfair and "a slap in the face to all veterans."
Assembly Member Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, launched the ad, calling his opponent "Pedro No Show Rios." It is airing on television and radio stations across the district, which includes all of Kings and parts of Kern counties.
The ad says: "Pedro Rios did not vote to help veterans buy homes. But he did take from taxpayers to use a government vet program to buy his own house."
The voice-over is referring to Proposition 12, also known as the Veterans' Bond Act of 2008, which provides loans to California veterans to purchase farms and homes.
Rios' campaign manager, Jesse Rojas, said Rios -- a California Army National Guard veteran -- used a federal home loan program for veterans to purchase his home, not Proposition 12 funding.
"Rudy chose not to serve, but he is now throwing mud at Pedro, a veteran, for using the VA benefits that he is entitled to," Rojas says. "That is wrong."
Jay Day, campaign manager for Salas, said the ad uses information gathered from public records.
"We don't see it as negative," Day said. "We're just telling the truth."