GOP ad ties U.S. Rep. Garamendi to Obama
Click here to see the National Republican Congressional Committee commercial targeting U.S. Rep. John Garamendi.
The National Republican Congressional Committee is putting a crosshairs on prospective Yuba-Sutter Rep. John Garamendi with a commercial touting his support for President Barack Obama's economic policies.
In the 30-second commercial, an announcer describes millions in federal loans to bankrupt solar company Solyndra as "gambling with taxpayers' money," as a part of the 2009 economic stimulus plan. An image of Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, pops up at the end of the commercial as he is described as supporting the loans and the stimulus.
Congressional committee spokeswoman Joanna Burgos said the 3rd Congressional District that Garamendi will run in next year is a swing district where a Republican can win.
"He lost the district when he was running statewide," Burgos said of Garamendi, who served as lieutenant governor and state insurance commissioner before being elected to Congress in 2009. "It's a competitive district that voted completely Republican in 2006."
Under state redistricting, the new 3rd District includes inland parts of Solano County, Lake and Colusa counties, and Yuba-Sutter.
Though Yuba-Sutter and other parts of the district have been mostly represented by Republicans in recent years, overall registration favors Democrats, with 42.1 percent of the voters versus 32.9 percent for Republicans.
Decline-to-state voters, often a swing vote in general elections, constitute 20.2 percent.
Burgos said the committee is spending $20,000 to air the commercials on cable channels over the next two weeks.
A political science professor at California State University, Chico, said the buy is small. And coming months before the state primary election, it's questionable how much effect it'll have on the electorate, said Diana Dwyre.
"It's effective if you can keep it up," she said.
But because redistricting this year didn't take incumbency into account, the state is a more target-rich environment in 2012 for Republicans and Democrats, Dwyre said. And the NRCC spending now sends a signal to independent expenditure co mittees — who can raise unlimited funds from anonymous donors — that the district could be in play, she said.
However, who gets the nod to try to unseat Garamendi is still in flux. Colusa County Supervisor Kim Dolbow Vann, farmer Charles Schaupp of Esparto, Sutter resident Timothy Core and pilot Rick Tubbs of Vacaville have all said they intend to run for the Republican nomination.
Burgos pointed out Vann, with $124,649 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30, actually has more money than Garamendi, who has a balance of $112,771 after spending $230,717 as of the same date.
However, Garamendi has also outraised Vann by 2-1, bringing in $294,104 to her $125,149. Schaupp raised $10,000 in self-donations and the other candidates have yet to report fundraising totals.
Jeannie Klever, chairwoman of the Democratic Central Committee in Sutter County, said she doesn't see the district as competitive because she is not impressed by the Republican field.
Garamendi is "going to be hard to beat because he's very qualified and he loves what he does," Klever said. "He's got a very long track record, and he's always been on the right side of what's right."
Dwyre said she noticed the ad didn't mention Garamendi wasn't elected until after the stimulus plan was passed and the Solyndra loans were made. Burgos said Garamendi expressed his support for the stimulus plan.
"It won't matter," Dwyre said of what the commercial leaves out. "I do see him as a possible target."
CONTACT reporter Ben van der Meer at 749-4786.