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Candidates in Santa Monica Congressional District Release Finance Report

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

April 18, 2014 -- The race to replace retiring U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman will be a very expensive one, according to the latest contribution filings released by the candidates and the Federal Election Commission.

The top five fundraisers in the race collected $3.6 million dollars in the first quarter of this year, with a month-and-a-half left before the June 3 primary. First-time candidate David Kanuth led with more than $800,000 raised during the past financial quarter, which spans from January 1 to March 31.

Bestselling author and motivational speaker Marianne Williamson was second with $636,842 and now leads all candidates with contributions totaling more than $1 million. 

Since jumping into the race as an Independent last October, two months before Waxman announced his retirement, Williamson has raised more than $1 million, including a $92,824 loan that she made to her campaign, according to Federal Elections Commission filings. Her campaign currently has $415,180 cash on hand. 

“All donations came from individuals around the country and the district, with an average donation of $71,” according to the Williamson campaign.

“Marianne Williamson’s campaign does not take any corporate PAC, special interest or lobbyist money,” said Williamson for Congress spokesperson Ileana Wachtel. “She is running a completely grassroots campaign, engaging individual citizens to become politically active on behalf of an independent, progressive platform.”

Former Los Angeles City Controller and Democratic candidate Wendy Greuel, who announced her candidacy for the congressional seat on January 30, reported raising $672,214 this quarter.  Her campaign has $449,439 in cash on hand.

“What our team is most impressed about is that individual contributions make up over 96 percent of that total, and 75 percent came online,” claims Sean Clegg, Senior Advisor for the Greuel campaign.  “Wendy's campaign is driven by folks across this district, not by big corporate money.”

Democratic State Sen. Ted Lieu, who announced his run for the seat on January 31 and is endorsed by the California State Democratic Party, reported raising $621,762 in just two months, which includes a $55,000 candidate loan.  His campaign currently has $579,437 cash on hand.
“Today’s fundraising totals show tremendous broad-based support for our campaign,” said Senator Ted Lieu. “I am humbled by the outpouring of support. I look forward to keeping the momentum moving forward in this campaign.”

Journalist and host of NPR’s “Left, Right, and Center” Matt Miller announced that his campaign has raised $517,822 for his bid for Congress. His campaign currently has $480,375 cash on hand.

“After spending the last six weeks raising money to compete with the career politicians, I can say this: first, people across the 33rd congressional district are tired of politics as usual and ready for real change to get our economy moving,” said Miller.

“Second, our system of financing campaigns is fundamentally broken and desperately needs reform,” he said. “I’m running for Congress to do whatever it takes to deliver the change we need.”

However, it is Kanuth, a Venice defense attorney and Democrat, who has separated himself from crowded field as a dark horse candidate, raising $803,653 in campaign contributions this quarter. That puts him far ahead of Greuel and Lieu, who according to polls are the frontrunners in the race.  He currently has $476,976 cash on hand.

“I appreciate the support of so many that are frustrated by career politicians and the status quo,” said Kanuth. “The voters I talk to everyday are looking for a new generation of leaders in Congress who will put country first and do what’s right for California.” 

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to report their first quarter fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission. There are 21 candidates in the race.  (“Santa Monica Democrats Host Congressional Candidates' Forum,” March 19, 2014)

In his 40 years in Congress, Waxman cultivated a reputation as the liberal lion of the House. When Waxman announced his retirement last January, he created one of the most crowded California elections since the 2003 Recall of Governor Gray Davis.

The 33rd Congressional District stretches from West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Malibu through the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Democrats outnumber Republicans within the district by 44 percent to 27 percent, with 18 percent of voters unaffiliated with any party, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office.

Under the state's open primary system, only the top two finishers in June, regardless of any party affiliation, will advance to the November general election.

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