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Congressional races

Small donations play big role in the 34th Congressional District

Congressional candidate Kenneth Mejia raised 90% of his money from small donors in the most recent campaign finance filing. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Congressional candidate Kenneth Mejia raised 90% of his money from small donors in the most recent campaign finance filing. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

More than 17% of individual contributions to all candidates in the 34th Congressional District came in small donations of less than $200, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

The reports, which cover fundraising and spending between Jan. 1 and March 15, show that more than $250,000 of the $1.4 million raised by the candidates in the race came from un-itemized small donors, or those who gave less than $200 and are not named in campaign finance reports.

Three candidates who raised a significant chunk of money from small donations were Arturo Carmona, Wendy Carrillo and Kenneth Mejia, all of whom are vying for votes from supporters of former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has preached the need to rid politics of special interest money.

Many of the candidates have sent email pitches to supporters asking for donations of $10, $20 or $27, the amount made famous by Sanders, who often cited the number as the average donation given to his presidential campaign.

Carmona, a former Sanders campaign advisor, raised the most in small donations, with $57,125, or 52% of his total. Small donors gave Carrillo $25,948, about 32% of her fundraising total and Mejia, an accountant and Green Party candidate, received nearly 90% of his total funds, or $31,957, in amounts of $200 or less.

Federal law does not require candidates to itemize, or report the names of, donors who give below that amount.

Alejandra Campoverdi raised $44,210 from small donors, who made up 28% of her haul, while Raymond Meza raised 48%, or $14,764 of his money from small-dollar contributions.

UPDATE: 

7:45 p.m. This post was updated to clarify that the numbers reported are based on un-itemized donations of $200 or less to candidates.

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