UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 19: Rep.-elect Steve Knight, R-Calif., celebrates after drawing the 1st pick in the room lottery draw and selection for the incoming members of the 114th Congress on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

National Democrats spend to pick their GOP opponent for competitive California House seat


Another prominent Democratic group, House Majority PAC, has also launched a $293,000 TV and radio buy here. Its TV ad isn’t up yet, but HMP’s s opening radio spot “attacks” Knight as a Trump Republican, which is exactly the type of argument that is actually designed to make him more appealing to conservative voters.

All the candidates will compete on the same ballot on March 3 for both the special election and the regular primary. While there’s always a chance that both Smith and Uygur could take the top spots and lock the GOP out of both contests in this 51-43 Clinton seat, it’s more likely that one candidate from each party will advance.

It’s not hard to see why Democrats would rather that GOP candidate be Knight instead of Garcia. Knight lost this competitive northern Los Angeles County seat to Hill by a lopsided 54-46 margin in 2018, and he’s struggled to bring in money for his comeback campaign.

Garcia outraised Knight by a lopsided $314,000 to $81,000 from Jan. 1 to Feb. 12, which the FEC defines as the pre-primary period, and outspent him $349,000 to $79,000. Garcia also had a large $278,000 to $108,000 cash-on-hand lead for the homestretch. A third Republican, former Trump aide George Papadopoulos, lagged well behind both Garcia and Knight in both fundraising and spending and had just $3,300 on-hand in mid-February.

Politico also reports that the DCCC and Smith are spending $151,000 on a coordinated TV buy. The commercial features a narrator bemoaning how Republicans in the pocket of drug companies kill any attempt to lower drug prices before Smith appears and declares that she owes these corporate interests nothing.

For her part, Smith outraised Uygur $314,000 to $248,000 during the pre-primary period, and she outspent him $648,000 to $385,000 during this time. Uygur, though, entered the final weeks with a $515,000 to $258,000 cash-on-hand lead.

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