Primary looming, here’s how the local Congressional money race is shaping up

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

With few exceptions, the fight for resources to wage Congressional campaigns in the San Joaquin Valley is shaping up as many prognosticators largely assumed.

Yet, there some candidates are picking up steam ahead of California’s March 3 Primary. Here’s a look seat-by-seat:

California’s 21st Congressional District

The hotly-contested race between Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno) and his predecessor, former Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) is getting more intriguing.

In filings to the Federal Elections Commission on Friday, Valadao reported raising more than $630,000 in the final three months of 2019 and holding more than $1 million in cash on hand.

Meanwhile, Cox not only raised less in the final quarter of the year, he lost his cash-on-hand advantage six months after Valadao entered the race.

Donors giving to Valadao’s camp are largely local.

His campaign reported that 56 percent of his donors are from the four counties that encompass the south Valley district. By comparison, less than 1 percent of incumbent Cox’s contributions originate from the district’s counties.

Campaign CmteQ4 RaisedQ4 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
TJ Cox for Congress (i)$482,425.52$241,022.45$1,716,802.05$1,006,604.93$22,951.07$887,054.69
Valadao for Congress$632,051.17$139,715.14$981,642.64$275,731.78$0$1,015,928.10

California’s 16th Congressional District

Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) is beginning to hit mid-season form. After early quarters in 2019 yielded light fundraising reports, the longtime legislator is beginning to deliver bigger funds to his war chest.

Meanwhile, Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria is also picking up the pace, doubling the amount she raised from the third quarter to fourth.

The key question in the north Valley seat is whether Soria’s funds will guide her into a one-on-one November showdown with Costa, or if underfunded Republican Kevin Cookingham can force his way into the top two.

It’s important to note that, while a number Valley seats have become pricey real estate, the 16th has stayed comparably affordable.

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 CmteQ4 RaisedQ4 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Jim Costa for Congress (i)$509,933.73$181,731.30$1,230,115.80$495,903.75$11,838.19$903,734.97
Esmeralda Soria for Congress$148,331.34$132,189.62$301,416.70$152,442.26$16,525.91$148,974.44
Kevin Cookingham for Congress$32,593.51$18,696.07$58,179.51$31,535.18$12,767.36$26,644.33
Kim for Congress$16,737.42$10,160.89$16,737.42$10,160.89$0$6,576.53

California’s 22nd Congressional District

Impeachment politics played an outsize role in fundraising for the 22nd Congressional District.

As Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare) became a central figure in the impeachment inquiry on the Intelligence Committee in the fall and early winter, both he and his Democratic opponents leveraged the bright spotlight to raise funds for a 2020 battle.

The results certainly paid off for Rep. Devin Nunes, whose war chest continued to balloon.

Meanwhile, Fresno financial advisor Phil Arballo picked up a large chunk of funds, too, with impeachment serving as jet fuel for digital, nationwide fundraising.

Campaign CmteQ4 RaisedQ4 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Devin Nunes Campaign Committee (i) $2,132,974.79$1,905,260.43$7,932,877.33$5,237,549.13$0$7,190,655.71
Arballo for Congress$706,353.67$382,423.38$1,088,654.92$528,827.00$0$559,827.92
Bobby Bliatout for Congress$123,609.66$148,308.97$328,208.44$164,479.69$104,056.15$163,728.75
Dary for Congress$87,863.14$66,886.28$164,749.14$108,230.77$6,000.00$56,518.37

California’s 23rd Congressional District

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) continues to raise buku bucks not only for the Republican Party and GOP Congressional candidates, but himself, too.

McCarthy’s lone opponent, Kim Mangone, progressed to a five-figure haul in the final quarter of 2019.

Campaign CmteQ4 RaisedQ4 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Kevin McCarthy for Congress (i)$2,464,668.27$2,368,823.31$7,964,200.93$5,840,867.27$10,000.00$3,817,598.27
Committee to Elect Kim Mangone for Congress$70,820.31$33,845.26$76,692.73$38,319.21$1,308.42$38,373.52

California’s 10th Congressional District

Rep. Josh Harder (D–Turlock) continues to keep the pedal to the metal, leveraging his 2018 insurgent fundraising operation to bring in considerable sums for his re-elect.

Campaign CmteQ4 RaisedQ4 SpentRaised YTDSpent YTDDebtCash On Hand
Josh Harder for Congress (i)$823,739.34$212,181.59$3,326,083.40$851,047.02$0$2,612,575.58
Ted Howze for Congress 2020 $106,788.88$220,630.12$1,002,605.59$414,341.80$592,296.03$588,263.79

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