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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