Just how important is the 16th state Senate battle between Democrat Leticia Perez and Republican Andy Vidak?
Well, the two candidates and the various independent groups backing either of the two have collectively spent $4.5 million on the special election to replace Bakersfield Democrat Michael Rubio, who resigned in February.
But quite probably an even bigger measure is that heading into this final weekend ahead of Tuesday's election, both Senate leaders will personally visit the district, which covers all of Kings County and parts of Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the Democratic leader, will spend Sunday with Perez.
The visit will be highlighted by a 3 p.m. rally at the Hinton Community Center, 2385 S. Fairview Ave. in southwest Fresno.
This is Steinberg's first district visit in support of Perez.
Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff is also coming south from Sacramento — and a day earlier.
Huff has already campaigned in the district on Vidak's behalf several times. This time, he'll visit Vidak's campaign headquarters in Hanford starting at 11 a.m. today. The office is at 101 N. Irwin St., Suite 110.
— John Ellis
Dueling news releases hit Costa, Valadao
The congressional public-relations machinery otherwise known as the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee offered up two widely divergent viewpoints on a piece of GOP-backed legislation.
As usual, the Republicans went after Fresno Democrat Jim Costa, and the Democrats targeted Hanford Republican David Valadao.
Here are the two headlines from a news release on a bill dubbed the "Student Success Act" — "Jim Costa Wants Fewer Opportunities For Students," the NRCC said in a release. And from the Democrats: "Valadao Lets Students Down — Again."
Here are the takes:
The NRCC said Costa's vote on the "Student Success Act, a common-sense measure," was "a true disservice to millions of students across the country.
"Unfortunately, Jim Costa wants more bureaucratic interference in our children's education. Instead of giving control back to parents, Costa simply believes that Washington has all the answers."
But the DCCC had a much different viewpoint. It called the bill the "Letting Students Down Act," and said it was "an extremely partisan measure that would gut education funding by billions of dollars and undermine our students' ability to compete globally for jobs.
"Once again, Congressman Valadao's priorities are out of whack with California; he would rather let students down than help them succeed," the DCCC's Emily Bittner said in the release.
Can it be both ways?
— John Ellis