With Tuesday’s election coming fast, an independent group and the Democratic National Campaign Committee are spending money on television commercials for Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria in her 21st Congressional District race against incumbent Republican David Valadao.
The 11th-hour spending spree is a sure sign that the race is competitive, Renteria campaign manager Michael Trujillo said.
“This race is going to come down to 500 votes in either direction,” Trujillo said. “Anyone who says anything else, they’re living on Mars.”
The independent money comes from the Latino Victory Project. The organization is spending $88,000 on an independent expenditure for television advertisements. That money is separate from the Renteria campaign and there can be no coordination between the campaign and the Latino Victory Project.
In addition, the DCCC is chipping in $94,400 that is combining with Renteria campaign money to buy additional television commercials.
The DCCC contribution — the maximum allowed by federal law — is known as a coordinated expenditure. Several weeks ago, the Republican National Campaign Committee made a similar contribution on behalf of Valadao.
Trujillo declined to comment on the DCCC money, referring calls to the organization. DCCC officials declined to comment.
The Valadao campaign didn’t comment directly on the money for Renteria, but did zero in on the Latino Victory Project in a news release, noting that the organization was founded by actress Eva Longoria and has solely backed Democrats for office.
“As former ‘Desperate Housewives’ star Eva Longoria and her liberal allies pump thousands into Amanda Renteria’s struggling campaign for Congress, it may be time to develop a ‘Desperate Congressional Candidates’ pilot,” Valadao campaign spokesman Tal Eslick said in the release.
It’s unclear how far the money will go at this late stage in the campaign.
For one, political television commercials are expensive this close to the election, and independent expenditure ads pay top dollar because there are few spending restrictions on what TV stations can charge for those ads. The DCCC/Renteria ad money will go further, but the market is crowded right now, as candidates, ballot initiatives and independent groups all vie for limited commercial time left before the election.
In addition, more than 15% of 21st District voters have already cast their ballots, so any politicking will have no effect on them.
Still, a recent Survey USA/ABC30 poll on the race had Renteria within 5 percentage points of Valadao. The last Survey USA/ABC30 poll, done around six weeks ago, had Valadao up by 19 percentage points.
For that reason, Democrats cheered the cash infusion. If the race wasn’t competitive, they reasoned, why waste the money?