Although the two Democrats in the 38th Congressional District race are feverishly raising money to beat each other in the June 3 primary, for pure fund-raising skill they still can't beat Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove), the Democrats' target in the November general election.
Dornan, who is uncontested in June, raised $135,169 in the April 1-May 14 reporting period and has raised $217,625 so far this year, said his chief of staff, Brian Bennett, citing Dornan's report filed with the Federal Elections Commission in Washington by Thursday's deadline.
"We've already raised more than most campaigns in this country will spend," said Bennett, who predicted that Dornan will spend at least $1 million to keep his seat in November.
So far, Dornan's reelection effort has cost $107,623 in the reporting period and $186,668 for the year to date. These totals included the cost of opening a campaign headquarters in Garden Grove, buying campaign buttons and mostly "rolling over" Dornan's 20,000-person national mailing list for contributions, Bennett said.
Meanwhile, FEC reports showed that Superior Court Judge and first-time Democratic candidate David O. Carter raised $57,218 in the same April 1-May 14 filing period, and $131,244 for the year through May 14.
By contrast, six-term Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden Grove) raised $69,655 in the reporting period and $160,264 for the year through May 14.
Campaign reports are a key indicator to how a candidate may fare in the June election. Without enough money to pay for yard signs, computer time, campaign consulting fees, advertising and expensive district-wide mailers that tell voters about a candidate, a campaign may run out of steam. In the case of both the Carter and Robinson campaigns, campaign staffers insist that they have as much money for mailers and other campaign activities as they need.
Carter spent $73,913 in the reporting period and $117,244 for the year, leaving his campaign with about $14,275 cash on hand by May 14.
$75,962 Cash on Hand
Robinson, meanwhile, appeared to be hoarding some money for the finish, spending $79,962 in the period and $84,425 overall, leaving $75,839 cash on hand by May 14.
Dornan's campaign committee had $55,666 cash on hand, about the amount he has had year-round, Bennett said.
In another hotly contested county race, contributions to five-term incumbent Rep. Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach) continued to lag behind those of challenger Nathan Rosenberg, a 33-year-old management consultant.
According to FEC reports, Rosenberg by May 14 had raised $74,215 in the reporting period and a total of $113,767 this year. Badham, who only realized several weeks ago that Rosenberg was a serious threat, raised $54,230 in the period and $91,571 so far this year.
The Rosenberg campaign has been spending its war chest as fast as the money comes in, campaign manager Harry Rosenberg said. In the period ended May 14, the campaign spent $92,571--including $5,400 on radio ads, $10,000 on computer lists, $13,495 on mailers and $10,850 for a poll--and had only $2,494 cash on hand. For the year through May 14, Rosenberg had spent $111,313.
Funds From Afar
But the candidate, helped by his wife, Claire Rosenberg, and Irvine City Councilwoman Barbara Wiener, has been aggressively raising more money from the district and from around the country, Harry Rosenberg said.
Meanwhile, the Badham campaign had expenses of $76,889 in the period and $106,032 for the year through May 14, with $30,402 cash on hand.
Money was spent on a $7,000 Arnold Steinberg poll, $17,000 in bulk mail and about $15,000 in consulting fees--although Badham, who has been criticized for the way he spends his campaign funds, also reported spending $118 on constituent entertaining at home.
"I'm sure they (Rosenberg's campaign) have more money," said Badham campaign coordinator David Vaporean, who only began working for Badham May 4. But "we're raising money. We have to catch up."