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Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 2:39 pm | Fair 69º


Capps-Mitchum Congressional Race Drawing Outside Attention

The 24th Congressional District race is drawing state and national attention as Rep. Lois Capps and challenger Chris Mitchum fight to get votes in next week’s election.

Capps, the 16-year incumbent from Santa Barbara, is outspending Mitchum by large margins.

The most recent Federal Election Commission numbers show Capps raising more than $2 million so far this year for the re-election effort, while Mitchum has loaned himself more money than he’s raised, with $149,000 in contributions and $212,000 in loans.

“We anticipated being outspent the entire time,” said political consultant Tab Berg, who is working for Mitchum’s campaign. “It’s actually gotten less intense, the differential is smaller now than it was before.”

Politico reported that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently poured in $99,000 to support Capps amid concerns that the usually-Democratic district could be lost to Republicans this year.

Capps attended a Get Out the Vote rally at UCSB Wednesday with fellow Democratic candidates Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Assemblyman Das Williams.

Lois Capps

“We’ve always known that this was going to be a tough race,” said campaign spokesman Chris Meagher.

“We are running a strong grassroots campaign just like we do every election. We were out registering voters until the deadline, and now making sure they get out the vote, which is why Newsom is here for the Get Out the Vote rally. We believe this is an important election with a lot at stake.”

After redistricting, there’s a much smaller gap between Democratic and Republican registered voters in the 24th Congressional District. There’s also a low voter turnout expected for the election, Meagher noted.

The 24th District includes all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, and a small portion of Ventura County.

Mitchum, a former actor who ran unsuccessfully in 2012, has also been getting support from state and national-level Republican players.

Chris Mitchum

House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California’s Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, and the state Republican Party chairman have been in the Santa Barbara area this week to campaign and fundraise with Mitchum, Berg said.

“They’ve seen the numbers and recognize that Capps is incredibly vulnerable and Chris is doing very well,” he said.

Last week, Berg released results of a poll that show Mitchum about 1 percent ahead of Capps, with 41.5 percent to her 40.5 percent, and 19 percent of respondents still undecided.

The poll targeted 400 voters who were representative of the district, which encompasses San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and northern Ventura counties, he said.

Capps’ campaign won’t discuss its own internal polls, but Meagher reiterated that they knew it would be a “tough race.”

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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