People claim they hate so-called ‘negative’ campaign pieces, but the reality is that to defeat an incumbent, you have to convince a number of people that they voted incorrectly in the last election. So you have to have fairly strong evidence that they made a bad choice in the previous election.
It might have been bad timing, but right before COVID-19 hit, legislation was brought to penalize employers who required vaccinations as a condition of employment, such as nursing homes, schools, etc. with criminal violations, making it a perfect issue to base an educational campaign on. In this card, all those tools were brought against a candidate who supported the wildly unpopular measure in the general election.
And it was effective, as Saba found himself a distant third place in a 4-way race for 2 seats by over 2000 votes.