Democratic Rep. Scott Peters maintained a narrow financial advantage over GOP opponent Carl DeMaio as the two entered the final full month in the hard-fought race to represent California’s 52nd Congressional District.
Campaign finance reports released Wednesday show Peters outraised DeMaio by $231,571 and has a $26,292 advantage in cash on hand. The reports cover July 1 through Sept. 30.
The reports only document the financial state of the candidates’ own campaigns and do not provide any insight into the money being raised and spent by independent groups running TV and radio ads and sending fliers to voters. By law, the groups have to operate independently of the candidates.
Related story: Early voting underway in DeMaio-Peters congressional race.
During the latest reporting period, Peters raised $893,567 and spent $2,024,335, according to his report. He ended the period with $808,093 in available cash.
DeMaio raised $661,996.26 and spent $1,319,042, according to his report for the latest period. He ended the period with $781,801 in available cash.
As has been the case throughout the campaign, Peters greatly outpaced DeMaio in fundraising from political action committees. The Democrat raised $303,352 from PACs — or 34 percent of his total fundraising — during the latest reporting period. DeMaio raised $105,850 — 16 percent of his total fundraising during that period — from PACs.
In an email, Alex Roth, a spokesman for Peters, wrote: “Scott’s donors are largely people who support his bipartisan approach to problem-solving and who don’t want another flame-throwing obstructionist like Carl DeMaio in Congress.”
Dave McCulloch, a spokesman for the DeMaio campaign, declined to comment on Peters’ advantage in fundraising and cash on hand. Instead, he seized on the incumbent’s contributions from PACs.
In an email, McCulloch wrote: “Big business and Wall Street PACs who want special subsidies for themselves are backing Mr. Peters so he’ll do their bidding. Thousands of small business owners, including groups that represent them like NFIB [National Federation of Independent Business], are endorsing Carl DeMaio because of his commitment to fight for the little guy.”
In a phone interview, Roth responded by taking aim at the challenger’s support from wealthy conservative activists.
“DeMaio continues to get money from the tea party and the Koch Brothers, which is just more proof of his extremism,” Roth said, referring to billionaire executives Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries.
DeMaio’s campaign has been the recipient of $7,500 in contributions from Koch Industries Political Action Committee and was the presumed beneficiary of $145,000 in anti-Peters television ads that the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity ran in February, according to POLITICO.
Groups such as Americans for Prosperity — often referred to as “dark money” groups because they do not disclose their donors — have played a major role in the race, with the Democrat-supporting Patriot Majority USA dropping nearly $38,000 on pro-Peters ads in July and the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS spending $700,000 on anti-Peters ads in August.
In the latest reporting period, DeMaio was the beneficiary of about $12,000 in monetary transfers from the Equality Leadership Fund — a joint fundraising committee he shares with fellow gay GOP candidate Richard Tisei of Massachusetts. The committee is funded in large part by some of the GOP’s leading gay-rights advocates. DeMaio had previously received almost $150,000 from the Fund.
Of note in Peters’ report are $22,411 in in-kind (non-monetary) contributions to his own campaign — mostly food for volunteers, catering charges, and facilities and equipment rentals. Those figures bring to $94,069.65 the total amount of his own money the candidate has spent on his re-election campaign.
This post has been corrected to reflect that Carl DeMaio’s campaign has been the recipient of $7,500 in contributions from Koch Industries Political Action Committee.