Latina Democratic House Candidate Releases Spanish, English TV Ads in California

Amanda Renteria touts her family story in early TV ads in the Central Valley.

Amanda Renteria's Spanish-language TV ad
National Journal
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Scott Bland
May 6, 2014, 5 a.m.

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.