Realtors spend big on California race
The National Association of Realtors, a major outside spender in the election, reported $500,000 in television ads supporting Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., in his quest to be elected in California’s 30th District.
Sherman faces a challenge from another incumbent Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman, thanks to redistricting and California’s top-two primary system. That new system pitted all candidates — regardless of party affiliation — against each other during the June primary, with the top two vote-getters moving onto the general election.
Friday’s $500,000 investment came from the National Association of Realtors’ traditional political action commitee, though the group also has a super PAC called the National Association of Realtors Congressional Fund.
The National Association of Realtors is the primary trade group representing realtors and is also a powerful lobbying group. In 2011, it spent more than $22 million on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This election cycle, the PAC has spent $1.2 million on independent campaign expenditures, and the super PAC has spent $2.5 million. This makes the Realtors’ outside spending comparable to the National Rifle Association.
In addition to the PAC’s $500,000 in support of Sherman, its super PAC has spent $564,000, making him one of the group’s favorite candidates. The group tends to favor Republican candidates, but it is officially nonpartisan, backing whichever candidates support its agenda of increasing home ownership, extending loans and maintaining mortgage interest deductions.
In May, the National Association of Realtors spent more than $709,000 ensuring Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., won his primary in California’s 31st District, as the Center for Public Integrity previously reported. Miller is the founder of a homebuilding company and oversees the real estate industry as a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Sherman also sits on that committee. He is a member of the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity and also the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. Both of these committees deal with issues of interest to realtors, including disaster insurance and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Sherman sponsored a bill in 2011 to amend the Flood Insurance Reform Act, a goal shared by the National Association of Realtors. He has also been involved in a handful of other bills relating to home ownership.
People in the real estate industry are the top contributors to Sherman’s campaign, according to Center for Responsive Politics. Members of the real estate industry and various real estate PACs have directly contributed nearly $110,000 to his campaign.
His opponent Berman has received a bit more from the real estate industry. But most of that $125,000 has come from individuals, not PACs, a sign that Berman holds less of an appeal to the real estate industry itself. Berman does not sit on any committees that deal with housing or insurance issues.
In other outside spending news:
- Planned Parenthood Action Fund, a nonprofit, reported spending $2.1 million supporting President Barack Obama and opposing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
- Pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future reported spending nearly $2.1 million on ads opposing Obama.
- Ohio Families United, a super PAC supporting Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, reported spending $263,000 opposing Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Brown’s Republican challenger.
- The conservative Republican Jewish Coalition reported spending $1.6 million on ads opposing Obama. The nonprofit is set to release a mini-documentary questioning Obama’s dedication to Israel.
- House Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Democratic U.S. House candidates, reported spending $691,000 total against Republican candidates in a number of districts. In “Choices,” the group criticizes Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., in California’s 10th District. “Oath” opposes Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and supports Nevada state Rep. John Oceguera, a Democrat, for their positions on abortion and women’s health.
- Majority PAC, which supports Democratic Senate candidates, reported spending $1 million against former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, as well as against Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Montana.
- YG Action Fund, a conservative super PAC spun off from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Young Guns movement, opposes Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., with “Two Faces,” a carnival-themed ad. “One of Us” opposes Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa., and “Flush Frankel” opposes former Florida Rep. Lois Frankel for U.S. House in Florida’s 22nd District. The ads cost a total $958,000.
- A new ad from the anti-abortion nonprofit Susan B. Anthony List calls Obama an “abortion radical.”
- Liberal nonprofit Patriot Majority USA released a new ad criticizing Charles and David Koch, the businessmen who are expected to spend millions to advance conservative causes in the election. Patriot Majority launched a national bus tour on Saturday to stop the Kochs’ “greed agenda.”
- The Congressional Leadership Fund, a conservative super PAC, opposes Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, for her ties to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., in a new ad, which cost $457,000. The group also released “Look,” featuring an animated lamp, urging voters to “shine a light” on the record of Texas state Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, who is challenging Republican Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco for U.S. House in Texas’s 23rd District. The ad cost $180,000.
- Liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century released “A $enator for Himself,” a web video criticizing former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is running for U.S. Senate in the state. The ad highlights Thompson’s partnership at lobbying powerhouse and international law firm Akin Gump. While Thompson has never been a registered lobbyist, Politifact concluded that he has used his influence and connections to help firms on Capitol Hill.
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