It seems like an understatement to say that 16th Senate District candidate Leticia Perez is going big on television. She’s already spent almost $600,000 on commercials in the Fresno and Bakersfield television markets.
That’s a ton of money — and a ton of commercials — for what is widely predicted to be a low-turnout special election on May 21. There’s five candidates, but Perez, a Bakersfield Democrat, and Andy Vidak, a Hanford Republican, are widely considered to be the two front runners.
It’s also more than twice as much as Vidak, who so far has spent a little more than $240,000 on television.
Even bigger for Perez is $90,000 in additional television airtime courtesy of a group called Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy.
The biggest contributor to this independent expenditure committee? That would be the Chevron Corp., which on April 16 gave $100,000 to Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy.
Chevron is the employer of Michael Rubio, who held the 16th District seat until February, when he surprised everyone by resigning, a decision that has led to this special election. Perez used to work for Rubio.
Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy is obviously a well connected organization. Besides Chevron, it has also received contributions from Sempra Energy, AMGEN USA and Oracle America.
Earlier this year, Anheuser Busch and Wal-Mart, among others, gave to Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy, which supported Democrat Norma Torres in another state Senate special election.
Torres and Republican Paul Leon are in a May 14 runoff for the Inland Empire seat.
But none of the contributions approached Chevron’s.
That assist aside, Perez’s campaign is spending almost $400,000 in the Fresno market — where she is largely unknown — and a little more than $200,000 in Kern County, where she won a seat on the board of supervisors last November.
Perez is also spending a lot of money on Spanish-speaking media — almost $180,000 in total.
By comparison, Vidak is spending around $160,000 in the Fresno market and a little more than $80,000 in Bakersfield. And of his total, a little more than $100,000 is going to Spanish-speaking stations in the two markets.