In quest for majority, Dems swarm McCarthy’s home state

In quest for majority, Dems swarm McCarthy’s home state
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDon't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency Overnight Health Care: Five takeaways from Fauci's testimony | CDC: Children might play 'important role' in spreading COVID-19 | GOP leader wants rapid testing at Capitol GOP leader wants to make rapid testing available at Capitol MORE’s (R-Calif.) chances of ascending to the Speakership appear to rely increasingly on voters in his home state, where Republicans and Democrats are vying for control of seven seats held by GOP incumbents.

Democrats need to reclaim a net of 23 seats to win control of the House. All seven of the California districts favored Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump vows challenge to Nevada bill expanding mail-in voting Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Juan Williams: The Trump Show grows tired MORE over Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

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Democrats hope Trump and his anemic approval ratings are but one of a series of headwinds that will stymie Republican candidates in those races, and McCarthy’s hopes of becoming Speaker.

A massive influx of money, both to candidates and outside groups, has raised Republican fears that they may be outspent in the race’s final weeks.

“Mimi Walters has tied herself to Donald Trump with vote after vote after vote,” Katie Porter, a law professor who is challenging the Republican representative in an Orange County district, told The Hill in a recent interview. “Our job is to make sure people know her voting record.”

All told, Democratic candidates and their supportive outside groups will have spent $35 million on television advertising between August and the November elections.

That’s a $7 million advantage over the amount Republican candidates and their supporters have dedicated to television time in the same period.

In Southern California, polls conducted by Siena College for The New York Times show Democrats leading in races for seats held Walters, who is seeking another term, and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order Conservative group files challenge to California vote-by-mail order MORE (R), who is retiring.

Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherDemocrat Harley Rouda advances in California House primary Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report Rohrabacher tells Yahoo he discussed pardon with Assange for proof Russia didn't hack DNC email MORE (R) is tied with his Democratic rival, while Rep. Steve Knight (R) holds just a 2-point lead over his challenger.

A Monmouth University poll shows former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) leading philanthropist Gil Cisneros (D), 49 percent to 43 percent, in another Los Angeles-area district.

No reliable public surveys have been taken in districts held by Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamBottom line Bottom line Lobbying world MORE (R) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoHouse Democrats target Midwestern GOP seats Democratic Rep. Cox advances in California primary The 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday MORE (R), both in the Central Valley.

Democratic candidates have reserved more television time than their Republican rivals in all seven races, leaving Republican outside groups to pick up the slack.

“The disparity means that Democrats are jazzed to write checks. The Republicans, not as much,” said John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College and a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “It is a huge problem for Republicans.”

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the outside group tied to House Republican leadership, is shouldering the bulk of the GOP’s burden.

The group has reserved or spent $19 million in advertising in the last three months of the race, according to sources watching the television market, including $5 million in time in the Los Angeles market that the group can use for whichever race is in most need of help.

By contrast, the National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved or spent just $2.6 million — including an additional $600,000, reserved Tuesday, to aid Walters in Orange County.

On the Democratic side, a handful of groups are sharing the spending burden.

The House Majority PAC has reserved or spent $12 million on television so far, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has blocked off $6.7 million in television time.

Groups including Priorities USA Action, the League of Conservation Voters and Tom Steyer’s NextGen are spending heavily on mail and digital advertising.

A review of records filed with the Federal Election Commission shows Republican groups are spending on mail and digital campaigns on behalf of only three candidates: Denham, Knight and Kim.

“I think we are seeing early signs of a strategic retreat by Republicans from Southern California seats, where they have fewer incumbents and where enormous media markets make big campaigns very costly,” said Thad Kousser, a political scientist at the University of California-San Diego.

“They may be marshaling their resources to defend GOP incumbents in the Central Valley,” Kousser said.

In a potential sign of just how much danger those Central Valley Republicans face, Democrat Josh Harder, who has already outspent Denham on television, said Monday he had raised $3.5 million in the past three months, a jaw-dropping sum for a first-time candidate.

Other Democratic candidates such as Porter, challenging Walters, and Katie Hill, running against Knight, are expected to turn in monster fundraising performances of their own.

“It seems that hatred is a very powerful fundraising tool,” said David Gilliard, a Republican strategist who advises several California candidates.

“These fundraising numbers have nothing to do with the quality of the individual candidates involved and everything to do with hatred for President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE, a deep-rooted hatred that has continued to build since Election Day 2016,” he said.