Last year, the California Association of Realtors spent major dollars on an independent campaign supporting Hanford Republican Andy Vidak’s special election battle against Bakersfield Democrat Leticia Perez.
Now, after helping Vidak defeat Perez, the organization is back for Round Two.
It recently spent around $165,000 on radio advertisements and ad production, polling and consulting in an independent campaign to support Vidak in his state Senate reelection battle against Fresno Democrat Luis Chavez.
Last year, it spent more than $800,000 to back Vidak.
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The ads come as Chavez, a Fresno Unified trustee, launched on Thursday a television ad campaign that serves largely to introduce him to voters and focuses on his education background.
Vidak’s victory last year was in a special election to fill the state Senate seat of Bakersfield Democrat Michael Rubio, who resigned to take a job with Chevron Corp.
But Vidak must run again this year — in a new district with slightly different boundary lines — because it is when the state Senate seat would normally be up for election.
Chavez and Vidak are the only two candidates, which means the June 3 primary election, in which the top two candidates move on regardless of political party, will serve as nothing more than a measuring stick for both campaigns. Their true battle will be in November.
Political experts say the spending is a sign that both Vidak and Chavez want to show well in the election, which could set the tone for November and entice more donors to give to the respective campaigns.