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Millions flowing to hot House races in California, updates show

Millions flowing to hot House races in California, updates show
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), facing a tough challenge from Assemblyman Scott Gorell (R-Camarillo), marches in a recent rally in Thousand Oaks. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Political parties and other interest groups pumped another $2.8 million over the past week to support or oppose candidates in California's hottest races for Congress.

The groups are not contributing directly to candidates' campaigns but are buying TV ad time, sending mailers or bankrolling other efforts to influence the outcome of the Nov. 4 elections.

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The spending must be reported to the Federal Election Commission, within either 24 or 48 hours, depending on the circumstances.  Groups are not allowed to coordinate with campaigns but must make their spending decisions independently.

The biggest spender in California over the last seven days was the National Republican Congressional Committee, which pumped in almost $560,000 to oppose Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) and another $472,000 to try to defeat Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego). 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was a close second, spending nearly $863,000 on efforts to beat back Republican candidates in four races.

They included Bera challenger Doug Ose, a former congressman from Sacramento, and  Peters opponent Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego councilman. The two races are viewed as too close to call by most political observers.

Democrats also spent money  against Republicans in two other close races--one in Ventura County, where Rep. Julia Brownley is trying to fend off a challenge by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell of Camarillo, and the other in the Inland Empire, where Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, is vying with Republican Paul Chabot, a military veteran, for an open seat.

Another big spender was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent more than $250,000 to support Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford), who is facing Democrat Amanda Renteria, a former top congressional aide.

The Times has an updated list of all group spending in top California congressional races.

Times researcher Maloy Moore compiled the list from reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Follow @jeanmerl for the latest in Southern California politics news.

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