Checks and balances: How much money did Congressional candidates raise?

Challengers taking on incumbent members of Congress are looking to post eye-popping numbers to build momentum going into the March primary.

What will it take to oust a sitting member of Congress?

Two local challengers think they have the answer, releasing their summer fundraising figures ahead of the quarterly reporting deadline set by the Federal Elections Commission.

California’s 21st Congressional District

Former Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) announced late Monday he raised more than $530,000 during his first month on the campaign trail.

Valadao, who announced his bid to recapture his seat in the 21st Congressional District from Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno) in late August, had only a single full month to raise funds in the third quarter of 2019.

The one-month total was roughly $178,000 less than Cox’s entire fundraising total between Jan. 1 and June 30.

The Hanford dairyman’s camp said that the haul was a single-month record for the district, which covers Kings County, along with portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties.

Valadao also reported that nearly 60 percent of his contributions came from within the district’s four counties, while – through the first two quarters of 2019 – Cox received just 0.07 percent of his contributions from the counties spanning the district.

Campaign CmteQ3 RaisedQ3 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
TJ Cox for Congress (i)$446,281.13$284,466.80$1,234,376.53$765,582.48$70,550.92$645,651.62
Valadao for Congress$533,455.50$63028.58$560,076.90$139,778.94$0$539,559.92

California’s 16th Congressional District

Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria also released fundraising figures ahead of the FEC deadline.

Soria’s nascent campaign launched just after the July fundraising deadline passed.

Quite a bit has changed: after three months on the campaign trail, Soria reported raising $150,000 in her bid to topple 8-term Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno).

Soria’s camp said she raised more than half of her funds from donors across the Central Valley.

Compared to contests in the south Valley involving Valadao and Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare), Costa’s electoral battles since moving into the 16th district in 2012 have never reached the same level of expense.

On average, Costa has raised about $1.65 million during two-year election cycles. Compare that to his former neighbor, Valadao, who raised an average $2.5 million each election cycle during the same span.

Campaign CmteQ3 RaisedQ3 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Jim Costa for Congress (i)$269,270.00$95,065.87$720,182.07$314,172.45$12,789.84$575,532.54
Esmeralda Soria for Congress$153,085.36$20,252.64$153,085.36$20,252.64$15,416.21$132,832.72
Kevin Cookingham for Congress$25,586.00$12,839.11$25,586.00$12,839.11$2,431.61$12,746.89
Kim for Congress$21,344.14$23,632.31$28,869.13$27,239.46$750.00$1,629.67

California’s 22nd Congressional District

Rep. Devin Nunes continued to post seven-figure sums as he ramps up for a re-election facing off against three Democratic challengers.

Phil Arballo, the financial adviser endorsed by former Nunes challenger Andrew Janz, led the field. He was followed by Bobby Bliatout, the third-place finisher in 2018, who provided hefty loans to boost his figures.

Campaign CmteQ3 RaisedQ3 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Devin Nunes Campaign Committee (i) $2,611,806.67$1,304,435.36$5,799,902.54$3,332,288.70$0$6,962,941.35
Arballo for Congress$252,104.73$140,522.27$382,301.25$146,403.62$0$235,897.63
Bobby Bliatout for Congress$192,818.00$15,704.39$204,598.78$16,170.72$101,133.47$188,428.06
Dary for Congress$67,332.44$39,081.39$76,886.00$41,344.49$6,000.00$35,541.51

California’s 23rd Congressional District

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield), like his northerly neighbor, pulled in seven figures during the quarter for his re-election bid.

However, the figures that arguably matter more to McCarthy are those for the National Republican Campaign Committee (the political arm for House Republicans), the Congressional Leadership Fund (the House Republican Super PAC), the Republican National Committee, and various committees supporting recruited candidates across the country.

Meanwhile, his single opponent has gained little traction among donors.

Campaign CmteQ3 RaisedQ3 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Kevin McCarthy for Congress (i)$1,669,114.82$1,441,898.75$5,499,532.66$3,472,043.96$10,000.00$3,721,753.31
Committee to Elect Kim Mangone for Congress$5,872.42$4,473.95$5,872.42$4,473.95$1,308.42$1,398.47

California’s 10th Congressional District

Freshman Rep. Josh Harder’s (D–Turlock) fundraising dominance among Freshman House Democrats has placed him rarified earth within the California House Delegation.

Campaign CmteQ3 RaisedQ3 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Josh Harder for Congress (i)$757,260.92$162,099.84$2,502,344.06$638,865.43$0$2,001,017.83
Ted Howze for Congress 2020 $112,796.40$84,943.92$895,816.71$193,711.68$594,300.00$702,105.03

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