A new radio ad is urging Republicans to support one of the two Democrats running for California’s open U.S. Senate seat this fall. The spot is paid for by an Orange County super-PAC and backs Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who faces state Attorney General Kamala Harris. The ad’s greatest impact may be felt down-ballot.
The one-minute radio ad speaks to Republicans who feel like they’re on the sidelines for the Senate race.
Woman: “Both candidates are Democrats, but we’re Republicans. I don’t know! Maybe I just won’t vote.”
Man: “Wait a minute. There’s a real difference between these Senate candidates, Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris.”
Woman: “Really? How so?”
The radio ad will air in Southern California and the Central Valley. It’s not clear it’ll change much, with Sanchez behind by double-digits in some polls and early voting already underway. But the ad may serve another purpose.
“Republicans are concerned there may not be enough turnout in November to support their down-ballot candidates,” says Lisa García Bedolla, a professor of political science at UC Berkeley. She says the ad may give disaffected conservatives some reason to show up. “Republicans may not be able to win statewide, but they still can win locally, if Republican voters turn out.”
Because Democrats expect to dominate future statewide races, García Bedolla says the ad’s tactics may offer a preview of elections to come, thanks to California’s new top-two primary rule.