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Huffman leads in fundraising for congressional seat


Assemblyman Jared Huffman has maintained his fundraising lead in the crowded race for the North Coast seat in Congress that seems likely to set a campaign spending record of $3 million or more for the region.

Huffman, D-San Rafael, reported $864,567 in campaign receipts through March 31.

Political newcomer Stacey Lawson, a San Rafael businesswoman and educator, collected $740,797, and a third Democrat, Marin activist Norman Solomon, had $526,802, according to Federal Election Commission records.

With more than $2 million in campaign funding for the top three alone, total spending for the primary election is likely to top $3 million, said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist.

“We’ve never seen dollars like this concentrated among three people,” he said.

If two Democrats emerge as winners in the primary, spending will soar far higher by the November general election, McCuan said.

“Voters are just now turning their attention to this race,” he said.

Spending in most recent North Coast congressional campaigns has been restrained by the fact that Democratic incumbents rarely faced a serious primary challenge and easily beat Republican opponents.

An exception was in 2006, when Rep. Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma faced a Democratic primary election challenge from Joe Nation and spent $1.4 million. Nation, who then held the Assembly seat now occupied by Huffman, spent nearly $720,000 and received 34 percent of the vote.

“We’re excited,” said Huffman, who is termed out of the Legislature this year. “We’re ahead on the money.”

Huffman said his spending on media advertising will start next week, with vote-by-mail ballots due out in three weeks and the June 5 primary election election seven weeks away.

There are 12 candidates — eight Democrats, two Republicans and two without party preferences — competing for the seat in Congress created by Woolsey’s pending retirement.

Under the new, top-two primary rules, the two leading vote-getters in June, regardless of party, will advance to the November election.

Lawson, who described herself as “a relatively unknown entrant,” said she is “on track” for a finish in the top two. She said she has raised more money than Huffman in the past three quarters.

In the first quarter of this year, that margin was slight. She reported collecting $284,838 compared to $278,916 for Huffman.

A $3 million spending total for the race “sounds about right,” she said.

Lawson, backed by Democratic Party fundraising powerhouse Susie Tompkins Buell of San Francisco, made waves by raising more than $450,000 last year.

Solomon had a strong first quarter of the year, raising $219,467, but his cash on hand at quarter’s end, $176,368, puts him at a disadvantage to Huffman and Lawson, who had $562,281 and $450,778, respectfully.

“Money buys exposure,” McCuan said, adding that Solomon needs to “ramp up his fundraising.”

Solomon said his “grassroots campaign” leads the field with more than 5,000 individual contributors giving an average of less than $100 a person.

Susan Adams, a Marin County supervisor, reported $158,909 in contributions through March 31.

Petaluma Vice Mayor Tiffany Renee said she “downsized” her campaign last fall and has raised $15,321.

Republican Dan Roberts, a Mill Valley securities broker, reported $177,792, including $160,000 in loans from himself.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

6 Responses to “Huffman leads in fundraising for congressional seat”

  1. Solomon's Money, History says:

    @ Jason

    Norman Solomon can’t get any support in his district so he spends a lot of his time traveling around the country connecting with the far, far left with promises to keep Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders company. He gets money from “Code Pink” types. He’s a radical pretending to be a Democrat so he can run for office. He’s a phony who wrote column after column complaining about how he thought “Move On” was a sell out and too conservative and now wants their support. He spent years fighting with Dr. Dean and now that Solomon is a candidate for Congress he organized his volunteers to conduct an online campaign to win Dr. Dean’s DFA organizations support. He is a guy who drops out of high school and calls himself an “educator” on the ballot. He is a guy who endorsed and voted for John Edwards and then declared he wanted to be an Obama delegate–over the objections of the Obama campaign. This guy mocks and despises “liberals” because they are not “pure” and not “progressive” enough for him. Democrats are not “progressive” enough. Solomon, who is 60 something, didn’t even register as a Democrat until a couple of years ago. His heart belonged to Ralph Nader and the Green Party for most of the past 20 years.

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  2. Jason Brown says:

    But what is the source of all of this election money? Who or what union was so generous in their contributions to the leftists running for office?

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  3. Kim says:

    Funny, you read one article that condemns the amount of money in politics and then you read an article (in the same paper on the same day) that promotes the amount of money politicians raise for their campaings citing that the one with the most money almost always wins. This is akin to finding articles that warn of childhood obesity on one page and (someitmes on the same page)an article warning of kids going to school hungry and starving.

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  4. Money Grubber says:

    Anyone who actually believes that government solves more troubles than it creates is a … uh…. government employee.

    Its time to dismantle 50% of all local, county, and state government.

    They steal our money, fund their cozy public pensions, and move away at age 50. All for doing 20 or 30 years of mostly nothing .. pushing their little government forms which amount to nothing.

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  5. Camino Alto says:

    The saying in politics goes “you dance with the one that brung ya”. Huffman will dance with the 1%. Solomon with the 99%.

    Thumbs up if you like it.
    Thumbs down if the truth hurts.

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  6. Steveguy says:

    Bought and paid for– again.

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