Outside groups spending millions in hot California House races

Doug Ose, Ami Bera
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), right, and Republican challenger Doug Ose shake hands after a recent debate.
(Jose Luis Villegas / AP)

 Spending by political parties and other interest groups in some of California’s hottest congressional races continued to climb over the last week, in one case even surpassing what the candidates have raised for their campaigns.

 The groups are not allowed to coordinate with the candidates’ campaigns but are spending independently on TV ads, mailers and get-out-the vote efforts.

 The spending must be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

By Friday, spending by outside groups in a suburban Sacramento district had surpassed $7 million.


That is more than the combined amounts raised by the campaigns of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) and his Republican challenger, former Rep. Doug Ose of Sacramento.   Bera this week reported raising $3.6 million for his campaign; Ose said he took in $1.5 million.

The race is considered one of the closest in the country, and both major parties are fighting hard for the seat, which Democrats took from Republicans two years ago.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent $2 million to oppose Ose, while its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, has ponied up $1.6 million to oppose Bera.

Groups outside the campaigns also are spending big in two other hotly contested congressional races.  The tally reached nearly $4.5 million in a San Diego-area race, where  freshman Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) is being challenged by businessman and former Councilman Carl DeMaio.


The tab surpassed $2 million in a Ventura County-based contest, where Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) is trying to unseat  first-term Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village).

The Times has an updated list of all groups’ spending in most top California congressional races.

Times researchers Maloy Moore and Anthony Pesce compiled the list from reports to the Federal Election Commission. 

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