Analysis: Spending in CA-25


After Katie Hill’s sudden resignation, California’s 25th Congressional District became a hotly contested race on both sides of the aisle. Due to the simultaneous special primary to fill the remainder of Hill’s term and the primary to represent the district from 2021-2023, we saw an influx of spending from a multitude of advertisers, including national groups. Before Hill was elected in 2018, the district had been represented by a Republican since 1993, which explains why both parties are heavily interested in this race.

Political Advertising Spending in CA-25

While we saw spending from candidates on both sides of the aisle, Democrats vastly outspent Republicans in the primary. In the Democrat primary, Cenk Uygur spent $528K, the most of any candidate, but did not make it to the general. Christy Smith, who did advance as the Democrat candidate to the general, spent $257K in the primary. In the Democrat primary, we also saw massive spending from Democratic outside groups. The DCCC spent $476K in a coordinated buy with Christy Smith’s campaign. As an independent expenditure, the DCCC spent an additional $365K messaging for Christy Smith and against Republican Steve Knight, who represented the district in Congress before Katie Hill was elected. On the Republican side, we really only saw spending from three advertisers. Mike Garcia spent the most by spending $89K. Steve Knight, who previously represented the district, spent $10K. Finally, the group Jobs Opportunity and Freedom PAC spent $38K in pro-Mike Garcia messaging.

Though Republican groups did not spend in the primary, we have seen an influx of Republican spending in the early stages of the general election. The National Republican Congressional Committee, NRCC, has been particularly active so far in the general, spending $1.01M so far. This spending is coupled with a coordinated buy with the Mike Garcia campaign. The two entities have spent a combined $102K so far. While we have not seen any Democratic spending in the general yet, there will be sure to be a lot of spending from both sides as we get closer to November 3rd.

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