Former Republican Congressman Richard Pombo is heading up a newly formed Super PAC, which will focus on electing — or keeping in office — Central Valley-based Republican and conservative congressmen.
The federal political action committee will be known as Empower Central Valley. Pombo is the chairman — and its public face. As with so many other such independent organizations, everyone else — including donors — will remain anonymous.
But Pombo, a Tracy cattle rancher, did say that “ag interests are all gearing up to get involved.” He said many contribute significant amounts of money to Republican causes and committees, but the money ends up being sent to out-of-state candidates.
“With other PACs, very little is spent in California,” Pombo said. “They raise money here, but spend it in Ohio.”
Empower Central Valley, he said, will spend its money in the Valley.
The first order of business is ensuring that Hanford Republican David Valadao in the 21st District and Turlock Republican Jeff Denham in the 10th District hold on to their respective congressional seats. The two have earned the PAC’s initial endorsements.
Both will almost certainly be Democratic Party targets next year. Beyond that, the PAC will look to get involved in other Valley races that may be competitive, be they working to keep a Central Valley Republican in office or hoping to oust a rival Democrat.
The PAC’s initial budget, based on the current targeted seats, is $1.2 million, Pombo said.
“We can expand, based on need,” he added.
The PAC is, by law, independent of the candidates it supports.
It is permitted to raise unlimited funds and in turn advocate for the election of federal candidates.