Politics

Actor Amato drops challenge to McCarthy

Bruno Amato, a bit actor, announced he would be dropping his campaign against House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, more than one year after launching a longshot bid against the top Republican lawmaker.

Amato launched his bid while McCarthy represented the Kern County-centric 23rd Congressional district.

A year later through the redistricting process, McCarthy’s newly-drawn , the 20th District, stretches much of central and southern San Joaquin Valley, from southern Kern County to Clovis. It is now the most conservative district in the entire Golden State, an analysis from the California Target Book states.

That factored into Amato’s decision.

“It was ALWAYS going to be an uphill battle to compete as a Democrat in a VERY red district against someone who is bankrolled by big corporations and wealthy donors with tens of millions, but the hope was always that redistricting would provide a more level playing field. Sadly, the opposite occurred, grossly protecting the incumbent,” Amato wrote.

Through his year-long campaign, Amato raised $459,324.56 utilizing high frequency digital fundraising appeals tying McCarthy to former President Donald Trump targeting Democratic low-dollar donors.

He closed out the fourth quarter of 2021 with $112,975.51 on-hand. The actor announced he would refund remaining contributions.

The announcement came two days before Valley Democratic delegates voted near-unanimously to grant a pre-endorsement to Amato’s top Democratic foe in the seat, teacher Marissa Wood.

Amato did not seek the Democratic Party’s endorsement.

Reid Stone is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.