One of the most interesting Democratic House candidates of 2014, running in one of the country’s most politically unusual districts, is releasing her first television ads Tuesday: one in English, one in Spanish.
Amanda Renteria, who was the first Latina chief of staff in the Senate, released a pair of biographical ads featuring her parents, who came to California’s Central Valley from Mexico before Renteria was born. “We worked in the fields so our daughters could have a better life,” Renteria’s father says in Spanish in one ad.
House Democrats don’t have an overwhelming number of vulnerable Republican districts to go after in 2014, but Renteria’s race is an exception — in more ways than one. California’s 21st District, represented by freshman GOP Rep. David Valadao, is the most heavily Hispanic Republican-held seat in the country. And at 55 percent of the vote, President Obama did better here in 2012 than in all but one other Republican House seat in the country.
But the district isn’t totally Democratic-friendly. Like many parts of the Central Valley, though the district is majority-minority, it is much more conservative than coastal and urban areas in California, and voter participation is far lower. Democrats lost a state Senate special election in a district largely overlapping the congressional district last year, and Valadao cruised to his first term last fall, as Democrats failed to qualify a well-funded candidate with baseline political support for the 2012 campaign.
This election cycle, Renteria got an early start on fundraising and building her campaign, and the TV ads will give her a name identification boost heading into the June top-two primary. (The last Democratic nominee, John Hernandez, is running another bare-bones campaign this year, too.) The Latino Victory Project, a PAC started by actress Eva Longoria and Democratic National Committee finance chairman Herny Munoz III, will be chipping in support for her, too.