It will be months before the campaign arms of the major parties will decide which races to spend heavily on in their efforts to pick up House seats this fall. But both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, already are taking jabs at opponents in several California "swing" districts.
On Wednesday, Democrats launched an online ad slamming Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell of Camarillo, who is challenging Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) in a competitive Ventura County-based district.
Aimed at district voters with Twitter accounts, the ad is a parody of the Game of Life board game. It is titled Sick 'n' Broke and purports to track "the many costly games Assemblyman Jeff Gorell and Republicans in Congress play with Americans' healthcare," according to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee news release.
The ad is just the latest in a series of paid online videos, radio pitches and automated phone calls that both sides have been airing in districts that either party could win in November.
The Republican Party does not take sides in primaries with more than one GOP candidate but has attacked Democratic incumbents in some districts that the party lost in 2012 in California. The National Republican Congressional Committee has posted online video ads attacking freshman Democratic Reps. Scott Peters of San Diego, Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert and Ami Bera of Elk Grove.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added all four embattled California Democrats to its list of "Frontline" members who get help with fundraising and strategy and it has begun voter outreach in districts in which its incumbents are considered vulnerable.
The organization also has been sending out releases highlighting news stories it thinks will hurt Republican candidates. For example, when Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert) announced last fall he would challenge Ruiz, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a list of stories linking Nestande to the tea party movement and highlighting his September 2013 vote against raising California's minimum wage.