Scott Peters

by Ryann Grochowski | inewsource

With less than a week to go before the polls close June 5, the money machine is cranking full force in the 52nd, a San Diego County congressional district that is considered one of the most competitive in California.

Democrat Scott Peters, an attorney and port commissioner, lent his campaign $1.25 million dollars in May. He’s now the top fundraiser in the race, approaching $2 million. Nearly 70 percent of that cash comes from his own bank account.

Republican Brian Bilbray, the incumbent, has raised about $1.2 million through May 30. Lori Saldana, the other Democratic candidate, has raised nearly $315,000. Peters has raised about $1.79 million, which includes his own contributions.

Neither Bilbray or Saldaña have contributed to their campaigns, though there are no limits on personal contributions in congressional elections.

Saldaña, a former state legislator, immediately charged that Peters’ was attempting to buy the election. Her campaign put up a website, San Diego Is Not For Sale, which says, in part, “Congress shouldn’t be a club for the one percent — let’s tell Scott Peters San Diego isn’t for sale!”

Mary Anne Pintar, speaking for the Peters campaign, rebuffed the claims from Saldaña’s camp.

“The money that Scott has loaned to his campaign, his own personal contribution, helps pay for mail and television advertisements,” Pintar said. “It is resources that are needed to compete in a highly competitive race against an entrenched incumbent.”

The 52nd congressional district was once a safe Republican district, but after its boundaries were redrawn last year, it’s wide open with roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, and a smaller contingent of independents. It stretches from Poway down to Coronado.

The big spending in the election so far has been on mailers, television ads and campaign strategists. The top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary will move on to the November election.

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