Assembly fundraising race previews tough election battles

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) speaks on the chamber floor this week. Quirk-Silva is facing a tough reelection bid in her Orange County district and was slightly outpaced in fundraising by Republican challenger Young Kim in the second half of 2013.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
<i>This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.</i>

SACRAMENTO -- The 2014 money chase is in full swing in a number of key California Assembly races, according to campaign finance reports filed this week that offer a preview of the battleground districts that will be decisive in the Democrats’ campaign to preserve their supermajority.

In one closely-watched race, the Democratic incumbent, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton, lags slightly behind one Republican challenger, Young Kim, a former staffer in the district office of Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).

Quirk-Silva pulled in nearly $300,000 between July and December of last year and spent almost $90,000 for her reelection campaign. She had more than $311,000 in cash on hand at end of 2013.

Kim, her opponent, raised $382,000 during the last six months of 2013 and spent $52,000; she has more than $336,000 in the bank.

Another Republican challenger in the race, Henry Charoen, a La Palma city councilman, reported having $29,000 in the bank at the end of the year.


The Orange County district is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with nearly a quarter of voters not stating a party preference.

Another vulnerable Democrat, Assemblyman Steve Fox (D-Palmdale), raised just short of $104,000 and spent around $26,000. He ended the year with just over $119,000 in the bank.

The Antelope Valley seat is considered a top target for Republicans this year; Fox won in 2012 by only 145 votes over his Republican opponent and the district has a slight Republican registration tilt.

The race has attracted a number of GOP hopefuls, including Tom Lackey, Palmdale city councilmember, and Suzette Martinez, a former staffer for Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita). Fox also recently attracted a challenger from the left: Kermit Franklin, who had worked as Fox’s legislative aide. None of the challengers filed finance reports for the latter half of 2013.

Democrats are also looking for pick-up opportunities of Republican-held seats, such as in the district represented by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo).

With Gorell now running for Congress, the open seat has attracted several GOP contenders, including Sean Paroski, a Camarillo Chamber of Commerce executive who reported having $7,500 on hand. Rob McCoy, a pastor in Thousand Oaks, and Sylvia Muñoz Schopp, a Port Hueneme city councilwoman, also have announced their candidacies but did not file finance reports.

Jacqui Irwin, the mayor of Thousand Oaks, is the Democrats’ contender. She reported raising $17,400 last year and has that same amount in the bank.

[For The Record, 1 p.m. PST Feb. 11: An earlier version of this post referred to Republican Assembly candidate Young Kim as a staffer in the district office of Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton). Kim left that position last fall.]

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