The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed Hanford Republican David Valadao for reelection in the 21st Congressional District, is now adding financial muscle to its backing.
This week, the organization put $250,000 into an independent expenditure on Valadao’s behalf. The money will be spent on television and digital advertising, according to a report on the Federal Election Commission’s website.
But the cash also raises a big question — Is the 21st District, where Valadao is being challenged by Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria, competitive?
For weeks, the Republican spin has been no. Ask any Republican, and they’d swear Valadao is on his way to a crushing victory. The district isn’t remotely competitive, they say.
And the evidence backing those assertions has been strong, though mainly circumstantial.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last month pushed some of its advertising buys in the 21st District back to this month, and now has removed them completely, sending the cash to other districts where incumbent Democrats are in tough reelection battles.
On top of that, some of the major political prognosticators in Washington, D.C., have been moving the race from a lean toward Valadao to a likely Valadao victory.
But Renteria has long been insisting she’s in the game.
She’s proven an effective fundraiser, and Democrats still hold a 17-percentage-point registration advantage in the district.
This week, Vice President Joe Biden came to Bakersfield for a political rally that mainly was to support Renteria, and also was the star of a Los Angeles fundraiser for Renteria and state Sen. Alex Padilla, a secretary of state candidate.
Now, Renteria will be part of an Oct. 20 Bay Area fundraiser headlined by potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Details are still being worked out, but Renteria and other Democratic congressional candidates will be the beneficiaries of cash raised at the event.