(CNN) - The Republicans sparring for their party’s gubernatorial nod in California released dueling ads Wednesday that challenge one another’s conservative credentials.
California State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman have been engaged in a nasty primary battle that will come to an end on June 8 when Californians go to the polls.
In its latest salvo, Poizner’s camp says Whitman would prolong Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's policies. To make this point, Poizner’s new ad shows an image of Schwarzenegger's face as it morphs into Whitman's.
Rep. Tom McClintock, who endorsed Poizner early last month, also appears in the new ad.
"More spending, more environmental extremism, more bailouts at our expense," McClintock says. "I've watched Steve Poizner fight big government and I trust him. This isn't a close call, there's only one conservative in this race and his name is Steve Poizner."
Whitman’s campaign pushed back at the notion that she would continue the policies of the current governor.
"Strangely the only candidate in this race who has ever likened himself a 'Schwarzenegger Republican' is Steve Poizner," Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said in a statement.
Accusing Poizner of leading the state into a financial crisis, Whitman's campaign released its own ad Wednesday.
"Steve Poizner says California is heading over a cliff," the ad begins. "Guess who was driving when it happened? Steve Poizner."
The ad accuses Poizner of going on a "spending spree" for new cars and "increas[ing] his department's spending nearly 14 percent."
Whitman’s new ad drew a sharp criticism from Poizner's communications director, Jarrod Agen: "No matter how much Goldman Sachs money Meg Whitman uses to attack Steve, the truth is that he cut his budget by 15 percent," Agen said in a statement.
Both campaigns tell CNN that their ads will air on broadcast and cable television statewide this week.
According to a Field Poll taken last month, Whitman holds a nearly 50 point lead over Poizner, 63 to 14 percent, among likely GOP voters.