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Newsom, Harris clobbering GOP rivals in money race

Newsom, Harris clobbering GOP rivals in money race
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom riding last year to a Silicon Valley speaking engagement. (Peter DaSilva / For The Times)

The Republican Party’s dim prospects for unseating Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris appeared to dim further Monday as new finance reports showed that both of their GOP challengers were close to broke.

The inability of Republicans to spend what's required to mount serious campaigns enables the two Democratic officeholders to preserve most of their cash stockpiles for future campaigns. Newsom and Harris are both discussed as top contenders for governor in 2018.

In a disclosure statement filed Monday with the secretary of state, Harris reported more than $3.6 million cash on hand at the end of September. Her Republican challenger, former prosecutor Ron Gold of Woodland Hills, had less than $18,000, along with more than $80,000 in debt.

Newsom’s situation was similar: He had $2.5 million in cash, while rival Ron Nehring, a former state Republican chairman, reported just under $21,000.

The lopsided financial picture affirms that Newsom and Harris are well situated to coast to reelection Nov. 4. Easing the way is the strength of the state’s top Democrat, Gov. Jerry Brown, who in every poll has run far ahead of his Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari.

Both Newsom and Harris have relied heavily on donations from organized labor, including $27,200 apiece from the California Teachers Assn. Harris has also pulled in some Hollywood money; actresses Charlize Theron and Eva Longoria each gave her $2,500.

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Even in more competitive statewide races, Republicans are having trouble keeping up with Democrats in fundraising.

Pete Peterson, a Republican whom party leaders see as one of their best prospects, reported less than $53,000 on hand for his race against state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) for secretary of state. Padilla had $410,000.

Twitter: @finneganLAT

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