Assemblyman Wagner has big fundraising lead in Senate contest

Assemblyman Wagner has big fundraising lead in Senate contest
Assemblyman Donald Wagner, left, shakes hands with then-Assemblyman Anthony Portantino at the Capitol in 2011. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

State Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) has jumped out to a big fundraising lead over two other GOP candidates in Orange County vying for an open seat in the state Senate.

With the March 17 special election looming, Wagner reported Thursday that his campaign has raised $371,000 so far and has $118,000 in his campaign account as of Feb. 28.

John Moorlach, a former member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, reported raising $108,000 and holding $33,500 in his account at the end of the period. Congressional aide Naz Namazi has raised $11,240 so far.

The 37th Senate District seat was vacated when Republican state Sen. Mimi Walters was elected to Congress in November.

Wagner built his fundraising lead with contributions from fellow Republican lawmakers as well as groups including the California New Car Dealers Assn., Blue Shield of California, the Building Owners and Managers Assn., the California Hospital Assn., and casino operators including the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.

The vast majority of Moorlach's contributions come from individuals, including accountants, attorneys and doctors, while companies that contributed included Ganahl Lumber Co. and Wealth Management Corp.