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Filling the War Chests : Incumbents Lead in Campaign Fund Raising

August 07, 1988|JEFFREY L. RABIN | Times Staff Writer

South Bay legislators up for reelection this fall have built solid leads in fund raising and are in a strong financial position compared to their opponents, according to campaign contribution reports filed last week.

After surviving the most expensive Republican primary fight in California history, Assemblyman Gerald N. Felando (R-San Pedro) reported that he had $46,100 left in his campaign treasury at the end of June.

By contrast, Felando's Democratic rival in the heavily Republican 51st Assembly District, Torrance City Councilman Mark Wirth, reported that he had $18,144 available for this fall's campaign.

However, Felando's campaign owes $71,000 to other Assembly Republicans for no-interest loans.

The 5-term incumbent spent almost $475,000 last spring to beat a serious Republican primary challenge from Deane Dana III, son of the Los Angeles County supervisor of the same name.

The younger Dana's $772,973 campaign against Felando was bankrolled almost entirely by his father, whose campaign committee loaned $712,500 to the son.

The race was marked by an avalanche of attack mailers sent to Republican households in the district, which stretches along the coast from Hermosa Beach to San Pedro and includes Torrance and Lomita. Despite being heavily outspent, Felando won the primary by a solid 56% to 44% margin.

The total spending in the Republican race--almost $1,247,700--was the biggest expenditure for an Assembly primary campaign in California history.

Felando received $196,410 in campaign contributions between May 22 and June 30, the last reporting period.

He received sizable contributions--$1,000 or more--from bankers, commercial fishing interests, doctors, developers, a lottery equipment supplier, horse-racing interests, insurance companies, the National Rifle Assn., oil companies and utilities.

Democratic challenger Wirth received a total of $1,300 during the last reporting period, from a Newport Beach development firm and Paragon Communications, which has the cable television franchise in Torrance.

ELSEWHERE IN THE SOUTH BAY, Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd (D-Hawthorne) has amassed an $80,199 war chest to finance his campaign for a fifth term in the 53rd Assembly District. The district includes Gardena, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Carson and parts of Harbor City and San Pedro.

Republican challenger Charles Bookhammer, a Hawthorne city councilman, reported that he had $13,614 in cash on hand at the end of June.

Floyd raised $74,346 between May 22 and June 30, compared to $844 for Bookhammer.

The veteran lawmaker, who is chairman of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, received a $15,000 contribution from the California Trial Lawyers Assn. and $12,000 from Applicants Attorneys Assn., whose members handle Workers' Compensation cases.

Floyd also received sizable checks from political action committees representing bankers, doctors, hospitals, nurses, horse-racing interests, insurance companies, labor unions, a lottery equipment manufacturer and tobacco companies.

He is on a list of a dozen Democrats who may be targeted this fall by Assembly Republicans, according to Anne Richards, spokeswoman for Assembly Republican Leader Pat Nolan of Glendale.

Meanwhile, in the staunchly Democratic 50th Assembly District, which includes the Inglewood and El Segundo area, Assemblyman Curtis R. Tucker reported that he had $61,921 at the end of June.

Tucker (D-Inglewood) won a landslide victory over challenger Daniel Tabor in a primary showdown last June.

His Republican rival, Los Angeles businessman Mike Davis, said in an interview that he did not file his campaign report by the Aug. 1 deadline and would be completing it this week. He said it will show "around $1,000 or so" in his campaign treasury.

Tucker, chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, received $275,938 in contributions in the first six months of this year. Medical interests--doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms--contributed heavily to his campaign as did labor unions, land developers, horse-racing interests and fellow Assembly Democrats.

In the sprawling 29th Senate District, veteran Sen. Robert G. Beverly (R-Manhattan Beach) holds a commanding and insurmountable lead in fund raising.

Beverly reported that he had $406,180 in cash June 30. He earned more money in interest on his campaign funds than his opponent, Democrat Jack Hachmeister, collected in contributions.

The veteran lawmaker raised $42,550 in the first half of the year, mainly from insurance companies, horse-racing interests, a lottery supplier, bankers, doctors and real estate interests.

Hachmeister acknowledges that he faces "an extremely entrenched opponent" in the district, which encompasses the beach cities, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, San Pedro and parts of Long Beach.

Hachmeister said he failed to file a campaign report on time. "It's unfortunately going to be late," he said.

With an estimated $500 to $600 in cash on hand, Hachmeister said he will have to rely on volunteers this fall. He expressed concern about not being able to communicate with voters in the district. "It's a travesty that we can't have a healthy discussion of the issues because one candidate doesn't have the money," he said.

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