California redistricting and new elections laws are helping to drive tons of money into the state's congressional campaigns this year, with at least $1 million being raised per candidate in 11 races.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the National Republican Congressional Committee expects to spend a record $10 million on California races in 2012, while its Democratic counterpart plans to spend around $8.6 million.
Among the hottest races is the Sacramento-area battle between incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Lungren and Democrat challenger Ami Bera. Their campaign has pulled in more $6.2 million, which is more any other congressional race in the country has attracted.
In addition, the battle in the San Fernando Valley between former colleagues, Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, has seen more than $11 million spent so far on the race, making it one of the most expensive in the nation. The two incumbents, so to speak, are facing off against each other because the state's new "top two" primary system requires that the top vote getters face off in the general election.
In the past, the Times reported, the state's congressional races have rarely drawn this kind of big money because they weren't considered to be very competitive. But that all changed when the congressional district maps were reconfigured based on the population changes recorded in the 2010 Census.
Now the state is seen as crucial to control of the U.S. House even though only one seat in the state has changed between the parties over the past decade.
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