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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS | ELECTIONS

In Money Race, Gallegly Widens Lead Over Case

October 14, 2000|DARYL KELLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Stocking a treasury that was already overflowing, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) has widened his fund-raising lead over Democratic challenger Michael Case, according to new reports.

Gallegly collected $169,474 during the third quarter and had $1.04 million available on Sept. 30, while Case raised $102,634 and had $336,000 in cash to fund a final push to the Nov. 7 election.

Gallegly has received $806,793 in donations during the 1999-2000 election cycle to go with about $634,000 carried over from last election, while Case has raised $517,000, not counting $109,000 in loans he has made to his campaign.

Kicking off radio and television campaigns this week, Gallegly began a flurry of spending on ads that stress his efforts on behalf of senior citizens and children. For now, the former Simi Valley mayor said he will emphasize his record during 14 years in Congress.

"We talk about what we've done for senior citizens and children at risk, what we've done for education," he said. "We'll be getting the documented record out the best we can, not half-truths.

"And we're going to try to run a positive campaign," he said. "I think people here and across the nation are sick and tired of people saying nothing but negatives."

Case, founder of Ventura's largest law firm, said he is on schedule with his fund-raising. He still hopes to spend about $900,000 on the race. But that will depend on whether money expected from Democrats rolls in later this month.

"I'm in that stage that every challenger that's working with the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] is in," he said. "We're waiting to see who's going to put in money and how much. And some PACs have told me money is coming. But they're getting deluged from all directions right now."

Even without substantial new contributions, Case said he can run an effective campaign.

"We'll do the things we said we'd do," he said. "The only question is can we put some bells and whistles in that?"

So far, Case has mailed three fliers, each stating what the challenger sees as Gallegly's basic positions on abortion, federal education funding and gun control. Case said he will follow up with mailers that set out his own positions so voters can place the documents side by side and compare their positions.

"Since he won't debate me," Case said, "it's my obligation to set forward where the incumbent stands." Case said Gallegly has declined joint appearances on radio and television. Gallegly said he has concentrated on doing his job in Washington, since the congressional session is still under way.

Gallegly said he is not running from a debate with Case. In fact, they both made presentations in September at a forum in Camarillo, but Case did not arrive until Gallegly had already left to catch an overnight flight to Washington. Case said he came late because he was attending a fund-raiser and had been told that Gallegly would not appear.

Gallegly said that because of prior commitments in Santa Paula and Fillmore, he will skip a candidate forum in Ventura on Sunday where Case will appear. But Gallegly said he may speak at a League of Women Voters forum in Ojai on Friday. Case said he will be there.

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During the next three weeks, however, the candidates will reach voters mostly through mailers and the electronic media. With the reported cash on hand, Gallegly can outspend Case more than 3-to-1.

That is partly because the incumbent gained substantial new support over the summer.

Gallegly received about $132,000 in individual contributions from July 1 to Sept. 30 and $37,000 in political action committee donations. His largest yearly totals from recent contributors were $6,000 from Southwestern Bell, $5,000 from a Realtors group and $3,000 each from the National Assn. of Retired Federal Employees and the Women's Alliance for Israel.

While Gallegly received about 22% of his new money from PACs, Case received only about 7% of his from political action committees.

Case raised nearly $96,000 in contributions from individuals and $7,000 from PACs. His largest PAC contributions were $2,000 from the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and $1,000 each from the Ironworkers PAC, Handgun Control Voter Education and the National Education Assn. Fund for Children and Public Education.

It's not unusual for incumbents to draw far more money from special interests than do challengers.

Political committee money flowed to Gallegly from businesses of all stripes--energy, real estate, investment, auto companies and small business.

Among Gallegly's donors were the Sunkist PAC, $2,500 for the year; United Parcel Service PAC, $2,000; the committee representing Newhall Land and Farming Co. of Valencia, $1,650 for the year; and Time Warner Inc., $1,500.

As in previous reporting periods, Case, president of the Ventura County Bar Assn., drew most of his support from attorneys and law firms. Lawyers contributed about $17,500, or 17%, of all funds he raised since July 1.

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