Bera-Ose Prepare to Debate, Race Geting National Attention

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SACRAMENTO-

The war of words between the PACs and other political surrogates behind Congressman Ami Bera and his challenger Doug Ose will pause Wednesday night.

It will finally be time for actual words from the candidates themselves.

Analysis by Real Clear Politics and Politico both list this race as a toss-up.

On RCP, Bera's seat is listed as the 17th most likely in the country to flip party control.

So what's Bera done wrong to be on such shaky ground? Maybe nothing.

"Some aren't going to be envious of Ami Bera's job right now, which is to distance yourself from a president who now in California, for the first time, has dropped below 50 percent in his approval ratings," Gary Dietrich, FOX40's political analyst, said.

While millions of PAC dollars have poured into this race, Bera is doing better than his challenger in reaching out to small donors.

On average, in the most competitive house races in the country, the National Journal shows Democrats candidates have brought in about $100,000 more in donations under $200 than Republicans.

Bera's about $188,000 ahead of Ose in that category.

To stay ahead enough to keep his seat, Dietrich says Bera has to show himself as an independent thinker on matters like the Affordable Care Act - which he did support.

"He's got to...in the debate...say here's specific things that I don't agree with the president on. I've been behind him on this, but here are some things I don't, to again demonstrate his own independence," Dietrich said.

And with so many Republicans dissatisfied with what their own party is doing in Washington, Dietrich believes former congressman Ose has to articulate distinctions as well.

"Hey I'm not just going to be Speaker Boehner's guy. I'm an independent business man here in this region..here are some ideas that I have," Dietrich said of what he expects to hear from Ose in the Wednesday night debate.

"A candidate who's too aggressive either in an ad or a debate can be seen as bullying and that's something voters don't like either," he said.

FOX40 will be covering the Bera-Ose debate from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday evening.

Expect a full wrap-up on FOX40 News at 10.