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Democrats scramble to replace cash

With funds missing or frozen, a campaign treasurer facing charges and an election 14 months away, many go looking for money.

September 25, 2011|By Richard Simon and Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times

Three weeks before Durkee's arrest, he added to that with a $1,500-a-seat fundraiser at AT&T Park, where supporters watched the San Francisco Giants blank the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0.

Now Hernandez is starting over, creating a new campaign account, hiring a new treasurer and contemplating more fundraisers.

"It's very frustrating,'' Hernandez said. "A hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money."

State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said he had hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds under Durkee's control and assumes that he won't have access to that money for the foreseeable future. Correa will be termed out in 2014 and has his eye on a 2018 run for state attorney general.

"You've got to shake it off and move ahead," Correa said. "On the positive, I've got my health. I've got a wonderful family.... I've got years to get back on my feet and six or seven years to raise the money I need" for a statewide run.

Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge's campaign account is frozen, but he has not announced plans to run for anything. Nonetheless, Durkee also handled a political account he used to pay office expenses and support community groups, so he is scheduling a fundraiser to replenish it.

Richardson, the Long Beach congresswoman, said in an interview that she had to reach into her own pocket to pay $3,500 in campaign expenses because her regular account is frozen. Her potential top rival next year, Hahn, did not employ Durkee and has full access to her campaign coffers.

Adding to her woes, Richardson does not know what campaign finance numbers she is supposed to report to the Federal Elections Commission for the month.

"It's going to be an ongoing problem for everybody," Richardson said.

Times staff writer Nicholas Riccardi contributed to this report.

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