Political ad spending for Valley congressional races hits all-time high

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In the second week of early voting, there's a feeling that there's a lot on the line in the races for Valley Congressional Districts 15, 28, and 34.

“It's going to be very close, I believe it is going to be very close,” voter Thelma Castillo said.

Spending for all three districts has been high, and with many political attack ads airing, a Valley political science professor says the ad money has the power to influence voters — and turn them off.

"It could be that people are just turned off by both parties if they're just attacking each other then it just feels like, 'They're all corrupt, they're all doing something terrible,' and it just makes people disengage with the political process," said UTRGV political science professor Richard Longoria.

In District 15, Monica De La Cruz spent $3.7 million on her campaign. Her opponent — Michelle Vallejo — has spent $1.7 million, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission. The $5.4 million total is more than the $1.3 million total between both candidates in the previous election.

In the District 34 race, Mayra Flores has spent $3.5 million, while her challenger, Vicente Gonzalez, spent $3.8 million, totaling $7.3 million for both candidates combined. 

In the 2020 District 34 election, $1 million was spent between both candidates.

The elections prediction website FiveThirtyEight says the two Valley races are the only ones in Texas too close to call.

"I would say that both races are tossups,” Longoria said. “Although it's been historically a Democratic area, Republicans have been gaining ground in recent years. I think we're at the point now where I think it really could go either way."

In the District 28 race covering Laredo and Starr County, a total of $8.2 million has been spent between the two candidates — even more than what has been spent in the congressional races in Cameron and Hidalgo counties. 


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