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Congressional Fundraising Race Heats Up in Santa Monica District

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

May 28, 2014 -- As the primary race to replace retiring U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman enters its final week, candidates are counting on campaign contributions that have been quickly adding up.

The top five fundraisers in the race for the 33rd Congressional District, which includes Santa Monica, collected $1.2 million dollars between April 1 and May 14, according to Federal Elections Commission financial disclosure forms filed Friday, the last filing before Tuesday’s election.

Former Los Angeles City Controller and Democratic candidate Wendy Greuel led the pack of 18 candidates, having raised $377,918 during the filing period.  Her campaign has raised $1,050,133 since she announced her candidacy January 30 and has $185,960 in cash on hand.

"Our fundraising totals demonstrate our ability to get our message out and put us in an incredibly strong position heading into the primary election," Greuel said in a statement.  "More importantly, they confirm that our message is resonating."
Her main rival Democratic State Sen. Ted Lieu, who is endorsed by the California State Democratic Party, raised $278,949, bringing his total to $900,711.4. Lieu’s campaign currently has $452,160 cash on hand.

“Today’s fundraising totals show tremendous broad-based support for our campaign,” said Lieu. “I look forward to keeping the momentum moving forward in this campaign.”

Bestselling author and motivational speaker Marianne Williamson was third with $275,314, but leads all candidates with contributions totaling more than $1.6 million. Her campaign has $314,663 cash on hand.

Besides contributions, Williamson lent her campaign an additional $300,000 during the latest filing period, bringing her total investment in her race to $392,824.

“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.”

Journalist and host of NPR’s “Left, Right, and Center” Matt Miller, who recently won the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, announced that his campaign has raised $241,275, bringing his total raised to $759,097.4. His campaign currently has $480,375 cash on hand.

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

Venice defense attorney and Democrat David Kanuth, who separated himself from a crowded field as a dark horse candidate by raising $803,653 in the first quarter of the campaign, seemingly lost momentum, raising $109,292. He currently has $303,791 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.” 
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.
Waxman’s announcement in January that he would retire after 40 years in Congress drew one of the most crowded California races since the 2003 Recall of Governor Gray Davis. (“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 representing one of the nation’s most affluent districts.

The 33rd Congressional District stretches from Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles 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.

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