CA-03: Time To Take Another Look at This Race

(Wow, CA-03 looks like it will be a top race to watch. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

UPDATE: Dan Lungren’s data was just released, and once again Dr. Ami Bera has out raised Dan Lungren. This time, Bill Slaton has also outraised Lungren.  Lungren raised $196,872.81 for a total of $443,718.52 Cash on hand.  There are now two formidable opponents for Lungren. Unless the winning candidate drains his finances in the primary, Lungren will face a tough race in 2010.

It’s 3rd Quarter fundraising number season for federal candidates, and the data is just beginning to trickle out in front of this week’s deadline.  

CA-03 is looking ever more intriguing, though. Dan Lungren pulled less than 50% in his 2008 victory over Bill Durston.  However, Durston was always critically low on funding, and really didn’t have the resources to get his message out.

However, if Dr. Ami Bera grabs the nomination, that will not happen this year. Bera, the former Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County, released his fundraising results for the third quarter of 2009 today. Dr. Bera’s campaign raised $335,443.00 between July 1st and September 30th. The campaign reported an impressive $585,787.00 in cash-on-hand at the end of the quarter.

Numbers for the other Democratic nominee, Bill Slaton, and Lungren are not yet available.  Last quarter, Bera outraised Lungren, and was only behind in cash on hand by $36K. Slaton wasn’t doing bad himself, but unless he really hit the gas on fundraising, Bera’s big numbers might end up looking very formidable in a primary.

Money isn’t everything, but for the Congressional campaign of a heretofore unknown candidate, you simply cannot win without substantial monetary resources.  

I’ll update with numbers from Slaton and Lungren when available.

UPDATE: Well, well, Slaton’s numbers are also impressive. We might end up with an interesting primary in the district. From his press release:

Democratic candidate Bill Slaton reported adding $253,418 to his campaign coffers this quarter, bringing his total cash on hand to $398,506. Slaton, the SMUD Board Vice President, green energy advocate and entrepreneur, is running to challenge Republican Congressman Dan Lungren in California’s 3rd District. 69% of the contributors are 3rd Congressional district residents.

9 thoughts on “CA-03: Time To Take Another Look at This Race”

  1. Let me add that Stu Rothenberg, whom I respect but IMO rates races a bit toward the Republicans, rates this seat (and CA-44) and “lean R”.  He only rates six Republican seats more at risk in the country.  http://rothenbergpoliticalrepo

    The Cook Political Report also rates it (and CA-44) as “lean R.”  Cook only rates five Republican held seats as more likely to go Democratic (although he rates more seats as lean-R than Rothenberg).

    If we want to be on offense, these two seats need to be big California targets for us.  

  2. I met Dr. Bera a few months ago while in Sacramento and he’s a very nice guy, very smart and someone I think voters connect with easily. Lungren is a transplant and his time has past.

  3. I think Brian’s comment is worth dwelling on:

    “Unless the winning candidate drains his finances in the primary, Lungren will face a tough race in 2010.”

    But – as of now, we are headed for a primary where the winning candidate will have drained his finances in the primary.

    It is always difficult to defeat an incumbent. And while 2010 may not be as bad a year for Democrats as some pundits are speculating, I think its fair to assume the political environment wont be as favorable to Dems as it was in 2006 and 2008.

    I say this to point out that we can win in CD 3 – but we will need a lot of things to go right and minimize mistakes and missed opportunities. Blowing half a million to a million dollars in a Democrat v. Democrat fight when every cent of that will be needed for the real fight against Lungren seems like a potential tragedy.


  4. Hell we still have Richard Pombo as the Congressman in CA-11 because of that wasteful primary!

    Yep primaries are a terrible thing!  

  5. But if handled properly, you are still getting your message out to lots of voters and vetting out your viability. It’s not like voters suddenly forget who you are as soon as the primary is over. A lot of great work can be done to set up the general.

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