Democrats seek to regain edge in key Assembly contests

Democrats seek to regain edge in key Assembly contests
U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has weighed in with financial support for GOP candidates in state legislative races. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Stung by second-place primary finishes in key districts, California Assembly Democrats have opened their checkbooks to struggling candidates in an effort to hold on to the supermajority they enjoy in the lower house, according to campaign finance reports filed this week.

Meanwhile, new U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has weighed in with cash for GOP candidates in key state contests.

Tom Lackey, a Republican city councilman in Palmdale, was the leading vote getter in the primary for the 36th Assembly District against incumbent Assemblyman Steve Fox (D-Palmdale).

In response, Fox has had a flood of contributions from fellow Assembly Democrats, helping him gain a fundraising lead. He brought in $103,627 during the six-week period ended June 30 and had $118,041 in the bank. Lackey raised $46,700 during the period and had $25,444 cash on hand.

Fox received the maximum $4,100 each from Democratic Assembly members Adam Gray, Ian Calderon, Freddie Rodriguez, Lorena Gonzalez, Matt Dababneh, Mark Stone, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Bill Quirk, Rob Bonta, Jimmy Gomez and Raul Bocanegra.

The California Republican Party provided Lackey with $21,500 in nonmonetary help, including research, and he also received $4,100 each from McCarthy and state Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen.

In a closely watched Assembly contest in Orange County, Republican candidate Young Kim got help from GOP lawmakers to provide her with a fundraising lead over incumbent Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).

Kim, a former aide to Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), placed first in the primary. She raised $152,134 during the six-week period ending June 30, winding up with $559,700 in her campaign account. Quirk-Silva reported raising $137,750 during the reporting period, closing with $515,990 in cash on hand.

Quirk-Silva has gotten help in the form of phone banks paid for by the state Democratic Party and maximum $4,100 contributions from fellow Democratic Assembly members Bonta, Gomez, Quirk and Bocanegra.

Kim received the maximum contribution from several prominent Republican officials, including McCarthy, Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway and Assembly members Frank Bigelow, Shannon Grove and Olsen.