Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Secretary of State Debra Bowen have far surpassed their Democratic competition in campaign fundraising, while Republican Craig Huey leads the GOP contingent in the election next month to fill a vacant seat in Congress, according to recently released figures from the Federal Election Commission.
Hahn reported raising $274,443 during the filing period that ended March 31 and spending $103,178. Bowen reported raising $195,225 and spending $102,227.
Huey, who lives in Rolling Hills Estates, lent his own campaign $250,000 and has raised an additional $1,727 from others, according to FEC documents. He has spent $155,695 and had $93,532 cash at his disposal at the end of the filing period.
A field of 16 candidates is vying to represent the 36th Congressional District that includes Marina del Rey, Venice, Mar Vista, Playa del Rey, Del Rey, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and other surrounding communities. The seat became vacant after to join a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. A special primary election will be held May 17 to fill the open seat. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, a runoff election will be held in July.
Hahn's notable supporters included billionaire philanthropist and businessman Eli Broad ($2,500); developer Rick Caruso ($2,500), whose projects include The Grove at Farmers Market, the Waterside Marina del Rey and The Village at Playa Vista; and her brother, James Hahn, ($1,000), the city's former mayor, city attorney and city controller. She also received pledges from Hollywood producer Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth) and from Walter Zifkin, CEO emeritus of the William Morris Agency.
Bowen received financial support from Marina del Rey resident S. David Freeman ($1,000), former head of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power; Chet Pipkin ($2,500), founder of wireless router maker Belkin International; and from Loretta Lynch ($1,000), former head of the California Public Utilities Commission. Bowen also was backed by former City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl and received a $1,027 in-kind contribution from Venice resident Danny Samakow, owner of Danny's restaurant and bar and the Canal Club.
Bowen reported receiving $70,544 during the reporting period from ActBlue, a political action committee that solicits online donations for Democratic Party candidates, while Hahn received $57,932 via ActBlue contributions during the same period. Teacher and anti-war activist Marcy Winograd has received $33,325 to date in ActBlue contributions.
Hahn and Bowen were the only two of the five Democratic candidates who had campaign fundraising reports from the FEC available online.
Federal reports from the other Republican candidates showed Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin had raised $66,447, Hermosa Beach City Councilman Patrick "Kit" Bobko gathered $31,324, Redondo Beach City Attorney Mike Webb received $29,949 and aerospace entrepreneur and businessman Stephen Eisele of Marina del Rey had raised $3,375 and loaned his campaign $19,883.
Libertarian candidate Steve Collett reported campaign debt of $1,250.
Democrats have a distinct advantage in the 36th Congressional District, with 45.3 percent of the 347,812 registered voters identifying themselves as Democrats. Republicans trail with 27.5 percent of the electorate, while 22.3 percent of voters decline to state a party, according to information from the California Secretary of State's office.
The election should be the first real application of the state's new "top two" election system that went into effect Jan. 1 after voters endorsed the changes in June 2010 when they passed Proposition 14. Under the new rules, if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the May 17 primary, then the top two finishers will face each other in a July 12 special general election, even if they are from the same party.