2012-07-27 / Front Page
Congressional race one of the most expensive in U.S.
In one of the most expensive current races for a seat on the House of Representatives, the campaign war chests in Ventura County’s 26th U.S. Congressional District continue to swell, with the final two candidates together reporting about $2.3 million in receipts as of June 30.
Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland, who finished first in the June 5 primary with 44.2 percent of the vote, has raised $1.4 million since the race began, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this month.
About $605,000 of that amount was raised in the second quarter reporting period—from April 1 to June 30.
“Our campaign continues to build unprecedented momentum,” Strickland said. “Our current fi- nancial standing and wide breadth of support is a testament to our strength entering the home stretch.”
Democratic Assemblymember Julia Brownley, who received 26.8 percent of the vote in the primary election after joining the race in February, raised about $637,000 in the second quarter, making her grand total $896,498 in fundraising receipts.
“We’re very pleased with the results,” said Lenny Young, Brownley’s campaign manager. “We’re especially pleased with the number of supporters we got from Ventura County.”
Strickland and Brownley emerged last month as the top two vote-getters in a crowded running field in the newly drawn 26th Congressional District.
Before the June 5 election, Brownley and Strickland fought for votes against County Supervisor Linda Parks, who ran as an independent and captured 18.5 percent of voters in the primary.
Three other Democrats— Albert Goldberg, a real estate agent from Ventura; Jess Herrera, Oxnard Harbor District commissioner; and David Cruz Thayne, a businessman from Westlake Village—vied for a place on the November ballot but trailed far behind.
The 26th District, which has no incumbent, includes most of Ventura County and Westlake Village in Los Angeles County.
The local race has captured national attention, with pundits viewing the mostly balanced 26th as a genuine toss-up district.
About 31 percent of voters in the district are registered Democrats, while 25 percent are registered Republicans.
Another 20 percent of the district’s voters are registered as “decline to state,” while the remaining 24 percent are affiliated with alternative political parties.
The recent redistricting marked a major shift in partisan lines locally, since Ventura County stood as a GOP stronghold for 13 terms under U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly’s former 24th District.
Gallegly, whose hometown of Simi Valley now falls under the neighboring 25th Congressional District, is retiring this year.
According to finance reports, Strickland has spent about $408,000 of his total war chest thus far, leaving about $1 million cash on hand with four months of potential fundraising to go.
That figure is more than three times as much as Brownley’s $322,000 of unspent campaign funds as of June 30.
“We certainly start out with certain advantages,” said Jake Parsons, Strickland’s campaign manager. “Tony has represented this entire district, first in the state Assembly and then in the state Senate. He’s been a resident of Ventura County for a long time and the voters have seen how he’s always put Ventura County first.
“As we start this new leg in the campaign, voters are going to see that Tony is who he’s always been—an independent leader of Ventura County.”
In his bid for Congress, the state senator reports receiving about $993,000 from individuals and $404,000 from PACs and other committees.
Strickland’s supporters include the American Health Care Association PAC, the Amgen PAC, The Freedom Project and the Majority Committee PAC.
Brownley, who currently represents the Santa Monica to Oxnard 41st Assembly District in Sacramento, has spent about $601,000 of her campaign money thus far, reports show.
Young said he and Brownley are not concerned about having two-thirds less cash on hand than their opponent.
“We did better in the second quarter. . . .” Young said. “We had a contested primary that was expensive, but we prevailed. And we will have the resources to get our message out.”
As of the end of the second reporting quarter, individuals have contributed about $647,000 to Brownley’s campaign, while about $249,000 comes from PACs and other committees.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Oxnard Firefighters Union are among Brownley’s supporters.