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Outside Money Flows to California

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Howard Berman is getting a boost from outside spending.

Either Miller or state Sen. Bob Dutton (R) will likely advance along with Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, the heavy favorite among the Democrats running in the Democratic-leaning district. That possibility pushed the National Association of Realtors’ political arm to cough up a little more than $700,000 for TV ads and direct mail on Miller’s behalf.

“Congressman Miller’s been a longtime champion on the Financial Services Committee for us supporting mortgage interest deduction, responsible restructuring of the GSEs, homebuyer tax credits,” RPAC Political Director Scott Reiter said. “He comes from a realtor-developer background, so he understands our industry from the ground up. The ads basically touch all those points.”

Inland Empire Taxpayers for Jobs has spent about $50,000 on direct mail for Dutton, and Sacramento-based Restoring Our Community has spent more than $150,000 so far building and implementing a ground operation on behalf of Aguilar.

Perhaps the most intriguing primary of all is in the Ventura County-based 26th district, in which it’s possible Democrats won’t have a candidate on the general election ballot in an otherwise top pick-up opportunity.

As the only Republican running, state Sen. Tony Strickland is practically assured of advancing to the general. But with multiple Democrats on the primary ballot, Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, a one-time Republican who opted to run as an independent, poses a significant threat to Democrats.

Nearly all of the $755,000 outside groups have spent on the race so far was on behalf of Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, whom national Democrats view as their best bet to pick up the seat. House Majority PAC spent a total of $493,000 on TV ads that highlight Brownley to Ventura Democratic voters and on direct mail opposing Parks. The League of Conservation Voters and its California arm combined to spend $192,000 on direct mail supporting Brownley, and EMILY’s List spent $48,000 on mail for her.

“In November, Ventura County voters deserve more than a choice between a right-wing state Senator and a politically expedient county supervisor who spent 16 years as a Republican before changing her registration just as she announced her candidacy,” House Majority PAC spokesman Andy Stone said about the group’s involvement.

A La Jolla-based group called icPurple spent $24,000 each on online video production for Parks and Chad Condit, the son of former Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.), who is running as an independent in the Central Valley-based 10th district.

Elsewhere, Oxnard-based Citizens for Prosperity and Good Government reported spending $104,000 on radio advertising supporting state Sen. Doug LaMalfa (R) in the open 1st district, which will likely feature two Republicans in the general election. And House Majority PAC spent $76,000 last year on TV ads opposing Rep. Dan Lungren (R), who is being challenged again by physician Ami Bera (D), his 2010 opponent.

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