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California Senate race ads may not be what they seem

Democrats spend big on California Senate ads in hopes of 1 nominee
Democrats spend big on California Senate ads in hopes of 1 nominee 01:54

SACRAMENTO - You've seen a lot of ads in this race and CBS13 found some interesting spending in the race to fill California's U.S. Senate seat. Would you believe Democrats have spent more than $11 million to prop up Republicans?

It's a four-way race with three Democrats and one Republican. The top two face off in November.

In this horse race, polls show Democrat Adam Schiff is the clear first-place finisher.

Now it comes down to second place, which is neck and neck between Democrat Katie Porter and Republican Steve Garvey.

Front-runner Schiff took out what appears as an attack ad. But look it you look closer, the messaging appeals to conservatives.

CBS13 political analyst says it's clearly strategic to unite them to vote for Garvey.

"They seem like attack ads on the surface that is, but all of a sudden you get below the surface and realize, 'Oh by the way here's a guy you probably want to support," political analyst Gary Dietrich said. 

But Porter wants that second-place spot, so Dietrich said she just took out an ad naming the next ranked Republican, ultra-conservative Eric Early, in hopes of dividing the conservative vote, so she edges out Garvey.

"So that Garvey's numbers get pulled down and Early's numbers go up and by the way, what does that enable Porter to hopefully do? Sneak into that number two spot," Dietrich said. 

Appearing as an attack ad for Republican Garvey, some say it's actually meant to appeal to conservatives, to unite conservatives so he gets the second most amount of votes.  

Democrats would prefer Schiff face off with Garvey in the fall, instead of two Democrats facing off in a liberal state.

Porter is strategizing back with an ad for a different Republican, Early, to divide support for Garvey so she comes out number two.

Essentially Democrats spent big money hoping to make sure there is only one Democrat on the November ballot. 

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