The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and House Majority PAC have increased their spending to help embattled Democrat Rep. Julia Brownley fend off a strong showing from Republican challenger Jeff Gorell.
According to Roll Call, the increased spending on the part of establishment Democrats is a “warning signal” that the race for Brownley’s Ventura County seat is shaping up to be a much tighter contest than expected, in a district that President Obama carried by 10 points in the last election cycle.
According to the report, the DCCC has increased its television advertising buys in Brownley’s district from $950,000 to $1.1 million. Additionally, the DCCC began its advertising efforts on September 2, about three weeks earlier than previously announced.
Meanwhile, the Democratic House Majority PAC has kicked in $46,000 to publish and distribute a direct-mail campaign slamming Brownley’s opponent, Republican Jeff Gorell.
“This is a tight race, and a difficult seat, and we are committed to hanging onto it,” House Majority PAC spokesman Matt Thornton told Roll Call.
Brownley was elected 26th District Representative in 2012, beating Republican Tony Strickland by a slim, 14,000 vote margin in a contest that collected nearly 264,000 votes. In this year’s June primary, Brownley eked out a tiny, one-percentage-point victory over Gorell, getting 38,854 votes to Gorell’s 38,021.
Now, Democrats are worried that with voter turnout in California at historically low levels, and with little in the way of ballot measures to get voters to the polls, Republicans are in a strong position to take back House seats from newly vulnerable Democrats.
“Washington Democrats are starting to realize what we’ve known all along — Julia Brownley is one of the most vulnerable Democrats of the cycle,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andrew Clark told Breitbart News. “Voters in Ventura County want a representative who will fight Obamacare and stay in touch with their district. Julia Brownley epically fails in both of those categories.”
Brownley’s campaign team has taken advantage of the strong financial lead over Gorell, running cable TV ads promoting Brownley’s pro-women bona fides since August. Meanwhile, Gorell launched his first TV ad campaign last week, pledging increased attention to veterans, drought-wary farmers, and California’s small businesses.
“My commercial taps into the growing public sentiment in Ventura County that we need a new representative in Congress who understands our local communities and who will put our concerns ahead of political partisanship,” Gorell said in a statement announcing the ad campaign.
California’s 26th District is rated “Leans Democratic,” according to the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, but is widely considered a top pickup prospect for Republicans in November.