The National Republican Congressional Committee hit the airwaves this week on behalf of California Rep. Mary Bono Mack.
It's the committee's first independent expenditure in this competitive race. The 36th district was not among either national party committee's original TV reservations, but the race has now emerged as a battleground.
The NRCC ad ties physician Raul Ruiz to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Medicare cuts and job losses. "Raul Ruiz might be a doctor, but Nancy Pelosi is already writing his prescriptions," the ad's announcer says.
The NRCC ad was released one day after Ruiz released a poll that found the race to be a statistical tossup, with Ruiz ahead 46 percent to 43 percent. The NRCC's buy is for $610,000 through Election Day in the Palm Springs media market. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has so far spent $446,000 in independent expenditures on the race, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
According to third-quarter reports due Monday to the FEC, Ruiz raised $550,000 from July through September and had $730,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30. Bono Mack raised $390,000 and had $840,000 left in the bank.
About one-fifth of California's Congressional districts are competitive this year — the result of a new independent redistricting process, strong recruiting by both parties and the new "jungle" primary system. Roll Call currently rates this race as Leans Republican.