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Janice Hahn, Debra Bowen lead in fundraising for special congressional election

The Los Angeles Democrats are the frontrunners in the race to succeed former U.S. Rep. Jane Harman of Venice. A Republican businessman has loaned his own campaign $250,000.

April 16, 2011|By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times

Bolstering their status as the presumed frontrunners in the crowded special election for a South Bay-based congressional seat, Democrats Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen have outdistanced their rivals in campaign contributions, reports filed with the Federal Election Commission showed Friday.

By the March 31 close of the reporting period, Hahn had raised $274,443 and spent $103,177, while Bowen had collected $195,224 and spent $102,227. Bowen, who is California's secretary of state, and Hahn, a Los Angeles councilwoman, are vying to succeed former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) in a district drawn to favor Democrats, who hold a nearly 18-point registration edge.

But Republican Craig Huey, owner of an advertising firm, had more cash at his disposal than Bowen and came close to matching Hahn's money by lending his own campaign $250,000, according to his FEC report. He spent $155,695 and reported raising $1,727 in contributions from others.

Teacher and anti-war activist Marcy Winograd, who twice challenged Harman in Democratic primaries, reported raising $50,336, more than half in small donations from individuals. She had spent only $5,205 by the end of the reporting period.

The four are among 16 candidates running in the 36th Congressional District, which stretches along the coast from Venice and Mar Vista through the South Bay beach cities and includes Torrance, Lomita and parts of the Los Angeles harbor area. Reports due Friday were the first for the May 17 special election and provide some measure of a campaign's viability.

The amounts raised so far are relatively modest for a contested congressional race. Harman, who resigned in February to lead a Washington think tank, spent $1.3 million on her reelection campaign last year. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), who faced a strong Republican challenge last year, spent $2.3 million.

Candidates who raise or spend at least $50,000 in a calendar year are required to disclose their fundraising and spending electronically, and the reports are available online almost immediately. Others have the option of filing by mail. Eight had filed electronically by late Friday.

Among the other Republicans whose reports were available, Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin reported raising $66,477, Hermosa Beach City Councilman Patrick "Kit" Bobko collected $31,324, Redondo Beach City Atty. Mike Webb got $29,949 and sales executive Stephen Eisele raised $3,375 and lent his campaign $19,882.

If no candidate wins a majority next month, the top two vote-getters will meet in a July 12 runoff.

jean.merl@latimes.com

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