Democrats book $27 million in ads for congressional races in California

(Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Democrats book $27 million in ads for congressional races in California

Elections 2024, California politics

Ziema Mehta

April 8, 2024

In a sign of how important some of California’s tight congressional races are in determining control of Congress in the November elections, a Democratic super PAC has booked more than $27 million in television and digital ads in the state.

It’s the most the House Majority PAC has booked in any state in its first $186 million ad buy announced Sunday, the largest amount the organization has ever spent on early campaigns.

House Republicans have done nothing but betray the American people while creating chaos, and we hold them accountable for their anti-American extremist policies and agenda, said Mike Smith, the president of the PAC affiliated with the Leader of the minorities in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries (DN. Y.).

Through these historic television and digital reservations, House Majority PAC has made it clear that we are prepared to do whatever it takes to flip the House and elect Hakeem Jeffries as the next Speaker of the House, Smith said in a statement.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the Republican version of the House Majority PAC, has not yet released its initial spending plans. However, the group leader expressed confidence in the Republican Party’s chances in the fall.

We have incredibly strong Republican incumbents in the toughest races, much better recruits and a political environment that appears to favor Republicans, CLF President Dan Conston said in a statement. If the resources are there, we will have the majority in this case.

The Democratic Political Action Committee announced last year it would spend $35 million in the state, roughly triple what it did on California congressional races in the 2022 midterm elections, when Democrats underperformed in some districts that should have been strongholds.

Political groups on both sides of the aisle don’t always follow through on their advertising reservations, so it remains to be seen how much the PAC will actually spend in California.

However, Democrats need to win four seats to take control of the House of Representatives, which is why the House Majority PAC’s spending plan, which targets 45 congressional districts across the country, including Republican seats in districts that President Biden holds in 2020 won, so focused on California.

The state’s 52-member delegation is the largest in the country, and California’s independent redistricting process replaced previous gerrymandering that created safe districts for both parties, resulting in more competitive races.

Of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 69 races in November are rated as toss-ups, competitive or potentially vulnerable by the independent Cook Political Report, which has tracked House and Senate races for decades. Ten of them are in California.

Additionally, the state is home to some of the most expensive media markets in the country.

These factors are reflected in the House Majority PAC’s spending plans.

In its first ad buy, the group plans to spend $18.1 million on the Los Angeles media market, as well as another $1.1 million on Spanish-language messaging. In these areas, television ads are seen by voters in GOP representatives’ districts. Mike Garcia of Santa Clarita, Ken Calvert of Corona, Michelle Steel of Seal Beach and Young Kim of Anaheim Hills, several of whom are expected to be closely contested in November as well as the bitter race for the vacated purple seat in Orange County by Katie Porter for the Democrat’s failed U.S. Senate election campaign.

Other spending in the state is focused on GOP districts held by Reps. David Valadao of Hanford, John Duarte of Modesto and Kevin Kiley of Rocklin, as well as efforts to endorse Democratic Reps. Josh Harder of Tracy and Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano.


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