San Francisco Chronicle
By John Wildermuth
April 17, 2018
A big plus to being a political incumbent is the easy access to campaign cash, since plenty of donors like to bet on a proven winner, regardless of party.
But the latest federal campaign finance figures, released this week by the Federal Election Commission, suggest some targeted Republicans may be squandering that advantage.
With the June 5 primary about six weeks away, three GOP incumbents have less money in the bank than their leading Democratic opponents.
Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove (Sacramento County), first elected to Congress in 2008, has $675,811 cash on hand, a bit less than Democrat Jessica Morse, who reported $715,094 in the bank.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa (Orange County), a 15-term veteran of the House, was outraised in the quarter by Democrat Harley Rouda. He has $1.1 million in his campaign account, compared with Rohrabacher’s $901,295.
Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine (San Diego County), who took over his father’s seat in the House in 2008, has $309,494 in the bank. That’s less than Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar’s $333,345 and only a bit more than Democrat Josh Butner, with $307,905.
Republicans also are trailing in the money contest for two seats left open when a pair of GOP incumbents announced they weren’t running for re-election.
Democrats have the top four fundraisers in the race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista (San Diego County), with Sara Jacobs holding about $1.1 million cash on hand. By contrast, Republicans Kristin Gaspar, Rocky Chavez and Diane Harkey are separated by only a few thousand dollars, with Gaspar’s $185,494 leading the way.
In the seat to be vacated by Rep. Ed Royce of Fullerton (Orange County), the three leading fundraisers are Democrats, with Gil Cisneros on top with $1 million in the bank. Republican Young Kim reported $466,761 in campaign cash.
It’s a different story on the Democratic side, where the Republicans’ top target, Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove, has about $1.4 million available for his campaign, compared with $80,915 for Republican challenger Andrew Grant.
It’s way too early for a GOP panic. There’s a reason those contested districts have elected Republicans for years, and it would be an upset of major proportions if the GOP voters there didn’t send one of their own to the fall campaign, adding months of opportunities for Republicans to gather money and support.
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