Democrats are increasingly concerned that their opportunity to flip three key California congressional districts could be thwarted by the state’s jungle primaries. In California, candidates of either party compete in the same primary and then the top two vote-getters move on to the general election.
Worries over a potential lockout—where the top two finishers are somehow not Democrats—were on display Tuesday as two major liberal groups invested in districts respectively represented by retiring Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and retiring Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Priorities USA Action and the House Majority PAC announced they will launch a $270,000 digital ad campaign beginning Tuesday and running through the June 5 primary.
The ads, targeting Republicans running in those districts, will run on Facebook, Google, YouTube, and non-skippable videos on the Fox News website. They will specifically focus on the candidacies of Scott Baugh in the 48th district, Shawn Nelson in the 39th district, and Rocky Chavez in the 49th district.
“As Democrats work to retake the House this November, we need to make sure that we’re maximizing our opportunities to win, which, in California, means ensuring at least one Democrat makes it onto the general election ballot,” Patrick McHugh, Executive Director of Priorities USA Action said in a statement.
“Southern California voters deserve to have all of the facts before they cast their ballots, especially with such a crowded field of candidates. Priorities and HMP will be communicating with voters online from now until primary day to help ensure Democratic success in these races.”
This follows an announcement from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) of major broadcast and cable purchases in those districts.
Additionally, the DCCC has weighed in by adding Democratic candidate and businessman Harley Rouda to its “Red to Blue” program, providing him with even more resources in his race to replace Rohrabacher. They took a similar tack with Gil Cisneros, a Navy veteran competing for Royce’s seat.
“We need to make sure we have a Democrat going in November,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) told The Daily Beast. “A lot of grassroots organizations and stakeholders have worked very hard and they deserve to have a candidate in November. And we need to do everything we can to make sure that happens.”
—Additional reporting by Sam Stein.