Midterms

Democratic committee pulls $70,000 worth of ads in Valadao’s district

Rep. David Valadao, left, a Hanford Republican, and Fresno Democrat TJ Cox are running in California’s Congressional District 21 November election race.
Rep. David Valadao, left, a Hanford Republican, and Fresno Democrat TJ Cox are running in California’s Congressional District 21 November election race.

The Democrat’s chief campaign funding arm has yanked $70,000 in advertising buys in the district of House Republican Rep. David Valadao, a move typically signifying the group no longer sees the race as winnable.

The ads were pulled were to run between Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, the closing days before the election.

Drew Godinich, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman said TJ Cox, the Democratic candidate challenging Valadao, is “running a strong, well-funded campaign.”

“The DCCC’s investments change on a weekly basis, and we are not going to reveal our playbook,” Godinich said, adding DCCC is still spending $210,000 in ads in the district in the weeks before the election.

Phillip Vander Klay, spokesman for Cox, said the campaign is proud of the ground work they’ve done in the area, touting “record breaking” fundraising numbers in the past quarter.

Vander Klay said the campaign raised about $930,000 last quarter.

A total of about $300,000 has been spent in the race for Valadao’s seat by outside groups either for Democrats or against Republicans so far this election cycle, nearly all in the general election, according to Open Secrets, a nonpartisan campaign finance research group.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016 by 15 points in the district, which includes parts of Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield in California’s Central Valley. That’s put a spotlight on the seat, as Democrats and political strategists predict a wave will allow them to flip the House in most swing districts, notably those that went to Clinton by double digits.

But Valadao won by about 13 points in 2016 against his Democrat opponent. Most of his Republican allies credit Valadao’s strong focus on local issues such as water, health care and immigration to his strong support in the district.

Cox began the election cycle running in California’s 10th district, which includes Modesto, but pulled out of that one — which included half a dozen Democratic candidates running against Republican incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham — to run against Valadao.

Cox listed a $1 million home in Maryland as his principal residence earlier this month, which his campaign attributed to an “honest mistake.” Cox also has a home in Fresno and owns several businesses in the San Joaquin Valley.

Kate Irby: 202-383-6071; @KateIrby
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