To cite a low-brow source, Wikipedia defines "synergy" as "two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable." For Democrats and Republicans alike, there may be an opportunity to produce desirable, synergistic results this fall by leveraging the presence of two very competitive congressional districts that are side-by-side in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
On paper, both districts appear to be very competitive and there have been two private polls released over the last few weeks that suggest that voters are in fact closely divided. As I posted here last week, Democrat Julia Brownley's campaign released an internal poll that shows her leading slightly, within the margin of error, in Ventura County's 26th Congressional District. Yesterday, the campaign of Republican Abel Maldonado recirculated a July 23 memo from the GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies that shows him trailing by 2 points, but also within the margin of error, in his race against Democrat Lois Capps in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties' 24th Congressional District.
First, let it be said that it's hard to assess the credibility of these internal polls. After Maldonado first released his poll last month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released its own private poll to The Hill newspaper. It showed Capps leading 51 percent to 40 percent. Similarly, I hear rumblings from Republican sources that GOP-sponsored polling shows Republican Tony Strickland leading Brownley by more than the margin of error in the 26th.
Still, there is the strong possibility that there will be two very competitive congressional races in neighboring districts this fall -- or, at the very least, there will be the perception of two very close races. That being the case, it would seem natural that the national parties will be looking for ways to maximize their bang for the buck. Could we see, for instance, Bill Clinton or Michelle Obama making a California visit that would include, say, a stop in Oxnard in the morning and an evening fundraiser in Santa Barbara? Might we see Ann Romney or whoever her husband picks to be his running mate, doing a public event in Goleta followed by a fundraiser in Westlake Village?
It's hardly out of the question.
And what about the Super PACs? There will be opportunities to maximize their efforts with media buys in neighboring, and to some degree, overlapping media markets.
There is, in short, an opportunity to have two campaign-related events functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable. In other words, an opportunity for political synergy on the Ventura-Santa Barbara County coast.