By Daniel Larios
August 6, 2014 – Two months after placing first in the June Primary for State Senate for District 26, Santa Monica School Board member Ben Allen is outpacing activist Sandra Fluke in the race to raise funds.
During the May 18 to June 30 fundraising period, Allen raised $266,174.74, while Fluke raised $189,901.77, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the California Secretary of State’s Office last Thursday.
This is the first time in the campaign that Allen has overtaken Fluke in campaign contributions.
"Ben has once again illustrated why he is he leading candidate in this race,” Allen’s campaign consultant Eric Hacopian told the Lookout.
“After finishing first in a very competitive primary, Ben has gone on to earn the greatest number of local endorsements and is once again the top fundraiser in this race."
Due to her national exposure as a woman’s rights activist when she testified before Congressional Democrats in 2012 urging that health insurance cover birth control, Fluke’s campaign has drawn a number of donations from across the country.
“Demonstrating the integrity and independence that voters are seeking in their State Senator, Sandra’s support continues to be fueled by grassroots donors,” said Lindsay Bubar, General Consultant for Fluke’s campaign, in a statement.
“Since the start of the race, nearly 3,000 individuals have donated to her campaign, with an average donation size of approximately $250.”
In addition to direct donations to his campaign, Allen also enjoys the support of independent expenditures from Republican-turned-independent businessman Bill Bloomfield.
While direct contributions to candidates’ campaigns are capped at $4,100 for individuals and $8,200 for so-called small committees, there is no limit for how much can be spent through independent expenditures, as long as the people and groups spending the money do not coordinate with the candidate.
Bloomfield has spent a total of $603,927.15 in support of Allen, so far. Most of this money is spent on mailers, polling, survey research and consultants.
Bloomfield, who spent approximately $8 million of his own money in a failed attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman in 2012, also contributed $4,100 directly to Allen’s campaign this month. Bloomfield’s wife Susan gave Allen the same amount.
Allen told The Lookout that those donations came unsolicited, and he and Bloomfield are not working together on his campaign.
Fluke has yet to receive support from independent expenditures. However, she has loaned her campaign $100,000 so far, according to her campaign disclosure. Allen has also loaned $50,000 to his campaign.
Neither the state nor county Democratic clubs have made an endorsement in the hotly contested race.
Both candidates have major names backing them. In addition to winning the support of major Santa Monica groups and elected officials, Allen has been endorsed by out-going LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, New York congressman Jose Serrano, LA City Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz, Assemblymember Richard Bloom and the California League of Conservation Voters, which co-endorsed both Allen and Fluke.
Fluke has received endorsements from Texas congressman Joaquin Castro, congresswoman Janice Hahn, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and EMILY’s List, among others.
Allen and Fluke are competing to replace state senator Ted Lieu, who is currently running for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman.
The winner of November’s election will represent a district that stretches along the coast from Pacific Palisades to Ranchos Palos Verdes and includes Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, portions of Hollywood, Brentwood and Westwood.