Politics

In battle against Valadao, Chris Mathys gets a big lift – from Nancy Pelosi

Former Fresno City Council member Chris Mathys (R–Firebaugh) hasn’t exactly had the Congressional race he’d hope for.

For starters, the district he thought he’d be vying for – the sprawling-but-centrally-located 21st Congressional District was hacked away by California’s independent redistricting commission.

Now, he’s running in the newly-drawn 22nd Congressional District, which is anchored in southern Kings and Kern counties, more than 90 miles away from his current home.

He also mounted a wayward legal campaign against California’s Secretary of State hoping to list his ballot designation as “Trump Conservative.”

Now, he’s become the beneficiary of an eye-popping amount of free, glowing television ads paid for by the Super PAC led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In the spot, which compares Mathys to incumbent Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) as if the two were competing cans of Campbell’s soup, a narrator lionizes Mathys’ conservative bona fides as an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump.

Mathys unsuccessfully sought to court Trump’s endorsement – extending so far as to travel to the former President’s retreat at Mar-a-Lago, Fla. in hopes of meeting with the President.

No meeting occurred and Trump has remained absent from the contest, despite issuing endorsements in other California Congressional races.

According to reports from AdImpact, the Pelosi-aligned Super PAC has purchased $110,919 in airtime in the Bakersfield TV market to prop-up Mathys against Valadao.

The only issue? Mathys is currently running in a new Congressional district where Democrats boast a 17-point voter registration advantage.

While it is highly unlikely that Democrats think Mathys has a legitimate chance of escaping the upcoming June 7 Primary in one of the top two slots, most political viewers see the moves by House Majority PAC as an attempt to force Valadao to expend money before the primary to weaken in the fall.

Thus far, Valadao has a campaign war chest of nearly $1.6 million.

Democrats, through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, have cleared the field for a fall showdown with Valadao, finally securing Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) to take on his predecessor in the Assembly.

Thus far, Salas hasn’t quite managed to match the fundraising prowess of the only Democrat able to oust Valadao – former Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno) – amid an avalanche of funds during the 2018 Blue Wave.

Compared to Valadao’s $1.6 million dollar campaign, Salas currently sits on $349,974 as of May 18, Federal filings show.

Saturday, House Majority PAC committed $193,745 to bolster Salas’ primary campaign with independent mail and television ads in the new 22nd Congressional district.

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