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U.S. Chamber of Commerce spends big on California GOP candidates

September 28, 2012 | 11:38 am

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Adding to the stakes in  hotly contested congressional races in California, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday launched an advertising blitz to help at least eight Republican candidates.

Both major parties have targeted 10 races in California as part of their struggle  in the Nov. 6 elections for control of the House, now in Republican hands.

The chamber said it has bought advertising time on broadcast or cable TV stations to tell voters "where their candidates stand on policies that will advance job growth and investment."  It did not disclose the amounts but others keeping tabs on ad purchases estimated the total at $2.8 million.

Among the races the chamber is airing ads in are those in Santa Barbara County, where  Democratic Rep. Lois Capps is facing a challenge from Republican and former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, and in Ventura County, where Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) and state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) are battling for an open seat.

The chamber also bought advertising to promote Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong, who is running for an open congressional seat against state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach); Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Carlsbad), who is facing a stiff challenge from former San Diego Councilman Scott Peters, and GOP Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione, battling community college trustee and Democrat Mark Takano for an open Inland Empire seat.

Democrats blasted  the chamber, which is not required to disclose donors to the ad campaign.

"This confirms what we've always known was a certainty -- that outside GOP money would flood the Golden State given the sheer number of Democratic pickup opportunities," said Andy Stone, spokesman for the House Majority PAC, a Democratic fund-raising group.

Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said the ad blitz was a sign that "the tea party Republicans' majority is in jeopardy and California Republicans are on the ropes," prompting the chamber to weigh in.

The chamber said the ads were part of the "largest voter education campaign in its 100-year history to elect pro-business candidates to Congress."

ALSO:

Poll shows close call for Jerry Brown's tax plan

Cal State system to hike tuition 5% if Prop. 30 fails

UC regents brainstorm changes if voters reject Prop. 30

--Jean Merl

Photo: Voting at a Van Nuys restaurant during the June 5 primary. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times

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