Rep. Xavier Becerra quipped Thursday that Rep. Ami Bera will defeat Republican challenger Doug Ose by a “landslide,” 51-49 percent, and that the outcome will come down to turnout.
Visiting the Sacramento Bee editorial board with Bera, Becerra said the Elk Grove Democrat “is not running against Doug Ose; he’s running against Karl Rove,” a reference to the millions being spent by outside groups for and against Bera and Ose.
Bera has raised $3.5 million to Ose’s $2.4 million. As anyone can tell by turning on the television, outside groups have dumped millions more in, $5.1 million for and against Ose and $4.3 million for and against Bera.
Rove, the Republican strategist who is the brains behind the campaign group, American Crossroads, is but one of the big spenders in the Bera-Ose race. The Center for Responsive Politics places the $9.5 million spent by outside groups on the Bera-Ose race as the second-largest sum of all House races. An Arizona race between Ann Kirkpatrick and Andy Tobin is the most costly to outside groups, at $9.5 million.
Becerra said he believes Democrats will gain at least one seat in California, but will need 16 pick-ups to take the House. Like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Becerra said he expects that 2016 will be a better year for Democrats than 2014.
Becerra, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, represents a downtown Los Angeles district but is a Sacramento native and McClatchy High School graduate. His parents are in the 7th Congressional District, which includes Elk Grove and Folsom. He spent part of the visit appearing on Spanish-language television urging Latinos to turn out.
“If you’re angry, don’t just sit on the couch,” he said.
Follow Dan Morain on Twitter @danielmorain.