Republicans Hit the Airwaves in California's Central Valley

The Congressional Leadership Fund is investing $2 million to defend Republican Rep. Jeff Denham.

Rep. Jeff Denham
AP Photo/Evan Vucci,file
Kimberly Railey
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Kimberly Railey
Oct. 13, 2016, 12:27 p.m.

Republicans aren’t letting Democratic spending go unanswered in California’s Central Valley.

The Congressional Leadership Fund announced Thursday a $2 million buy against Republican Rep. Jeff Denham’s Democratic challenger, a plan shared first with National Journal. The effort, which will begin Oct. 19, includes broadcast and cable advertising, as well as digital advertising, marking the first outside Republican push to bolster Denham on air.

Denham faces Democrat Michael Eggman in a district that narrowly leans Republican but twice voted for President Obama. Denham’s seat is also 40 percent Latino, fueling Democratic hopes that Donald Trump will galvanize their base in November.

Republicans say their polling points to strong support for Denham, who defeated Eggman last cycle 56 percent to 44 percent. But CLF’s efforts show that the party is leaving little to chance in a district where the presidential race could hold more sway than in others.

“Jeff Denham’s strong connection to his community and conservative voice in Congress stand in stark contrast to Michael Eggman’s out-of-district residency and embrace of Nancy Pelosi and her liberal policies,” CLF spokeswoman Emily Davis said. “We’re proud to highlight the clear choice voters have and help ensure Jeff Denham’s continued leadership in Congress.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now spending $2.8 million on TV in the district, bringing total Democratic TV spending to $3.3 million, according to a GOP source tracking ad buys. Denham has shelled out $947,000 on television.

No other GOP-aligned groups, including the National Republican Congressional Committee, have gone on air in the district, home to one of the priciest media markets in the country.

The DCCC and Eggman have both relentlessly tried to tie Denham to Trump, with a recent DCCC ad calling Denham “Trump’s man in Washington.” Eggman’s first two spots were focused solely on connecting the two Republicans.

Following the video that showed Trump making lewd comments about women, Denham denounced the remarks but did not rescind his support for the nominee.

CLF’s sister group, the American Action Network, spent more than $2.5 million to boost Denham in the last presidential cycle. That year, he won 53 percent to 47 percent.

The buy in Dehnam’s district elevates CLF’s total announced general-election spending to more than $24 million across 18 congressional races.

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