A crowded contest for a coastal Senate district in Southern California is shaping up as one of the most expensive legislative races in the state this year, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.
Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth is the fundraising leader among seven Democrats and one “no-party-preference” candidate seeking the 26th Senate District seat being vacated by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) as he runs for Congress.
Howorth, a Democrat, has raised $543,575 as of Saturday, including $100,000 that she lent her campaign and another $100,000 that she contributed to her campaign. Sandra Fluke, a Democrat and attorney from West Hollywood, had a big burst of fundraising in the last two months, helping her to achieve a total of $438,563 since her campaign began, including $100,000 she lent her campaign.
Ben Allen, a Democrat who serves on the Santa Monica-Malibu school board, reported he has raised $395,717, including a $50,000 loan from himself.
Surgeon Vito Imbasciani, a Democrat from the Hollywood Hills, raised $298,129, including a $66,000 loan he made to his campaign. Former Democratic Assemblywoman Betsy Butler has brought in $271,617. Attorney-writer Patric Verrone, a Democrat who is the former president of the Writers Guild of America, disclosed taking in $187,768 for his campaign.
Seth Stodder, a USC law school teacher and the only “no-party-preference” candidate, reported raising $93,827, most of it lent to his campaign. Attorney Barbi Appelquist, a Democrat and attorney, brought in $63,503.
Allen also has benefited the most from independent spending, with Manhattan Beach developer and education activist Bill Bloomfield putting $439,000 into ads, slate mailers and other efforts to support him. Bloomfield said he is supporting Allen: “Because everyone who knows Ben well says he's brilliant and ethical.... two qualities sorely needed in Sacramento.”
The California Medical Assn. and healthcare groups have put more than $392,000 into independent campaigns for Imbasciani, while Howorth has been supported by a $115,398 independent campaign by the Alliance for California’s Tomorrow, whose donors include PG&E, Philip Morris USA and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.