While the battle between Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno) and his predecessor, former Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford), has been a sleepy affair following Valadao’s victory in the March Primary and during the coronavirus shutdown, don’t expect it to stay that way for long.
Suffice it to say, San Joaquin Valley residents can readily prepare for an advertising apocalypse arriving on their television sets come October.
Thursday, the National Republican Campaign Committee announced it was placing nearly $3 million in advertising reservations in Valley television markets to buttress Valadao’s bid against Cox.
The House Republicans’ campaign arm announced its intent to spend $1.78 million in the Fresno market along with $1.16 million in Bakersfield.
California’s 21st Congressional District contains all of Kings County, along with a considerable share of northern Kern County and elements of Bakersfield, and takes in portions of southern and western Fresno County, southeastern Tulare County.
Among television markets, more of the district’s voters reside in the Fresno-Visalia designated media area than in Bakersfield, hence the tilted spending toward Fresno.
In total, Cox, Valadao, and outside Washington-based PACs have committed to spending a total of $7.42 million, according to television buying tracking service Advertising Analytics.
The final figure spent could swing wildly – either up or down – depending on the outlook of the race as political groups double down or cancel ad reservations in the Fall.
Currently, the Cox campaign has committed to $1.29 million in ad spending, while Valadao’s camp has reserved $1.07 million in the south Valley contest.
Other groups angling to hit the airwaves are Super PACs on both sides – the Democratic-centric House Majority PAC (Democratic) and Republican-based Congressional Leadership Fund.
The NRCC’s reservation in the Fresno market, $1.78 million, is the single largest reservation among all current TV ad reservations.
Its total reservation, combining Fresno and Bakersfield, is nearly triple the next advertiser in the district.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC’s counterpart, has only reserved $1,000 in television time and is undoubtedly likely to spend more.