Republican Rep. Dan Lungren is getting some early help for his re-election bid from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
A new television ad airing in Sacramento area praises the Gold River Republican for "fighting to protect California jobs," singling out his support for repealing the federal health care overhaul.
"He believes free enterprise, not big government, will lead economic recovery," a narrator says of Lungren.
A slight voter-registration edge for Democrats in the newly-drawn 7th Congressional District and high turnout for the presidential election are expected to make Lungren a top target this year. He faces a rematch with Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera, the doctor and medical educator who lost to Lungren by 7 percentage points in 2010.
The Lungren spot, which is posted below, is part of a national ad campaign rolled out by the U.S. Chamber last week. The new spots, which include negative pieces against Democrats who supported the health care overhaul, target 12 congressional districts and eight U.S. Senate races.
"American families deserve to know who has the courage to fight for job-creating policies in Washington and who is hurting their pocketbooks," said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue. "We're asking the public to hold members of Congress accountable for their positions on Obamacare, job-killing regulations, energy security, and a culture of wasteful spending in Washington."
Chamber spokesman Bryan Goettel said the ad began airing Thursday on both cable and broadcast channels and will run for two weeks. He declined to specify how much the group spent on the ad buy. The "voter education" spots, which urge viewers to call the offices of Lungren and others on the issues cited in the ads and are not subject to the same disclosure requirements as campaign advertisements.
The Bera campaign said it believes the early spending shows the incumbent's vulnerability.
"It's clear that they see him as someone who stands for their interests and that's why they're stepping up so early and spending a lot of money when most voters don't really want to be seeing TV ads this early in the game," spokesman Josh Wolf said.
Editor's note: This post was updated at 12:11 p.m. with comments from the Chamber. It was also updated to clarify that the ads began last week, contrary to the Feb. 13 date on a press release posted online.