Rocky Chavez, a Republican Assemblyman from Oceanside, reported raising $93,579 this year for his campaign to succeed Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, a high-stakes race that already has generated millions in contributions to the Democratic front-runners.
Chavez, a retired Marine colonel and former Oceanside City Council member, downplayed his financial disadvantage in the race.
He said recent history has shown that well-funded Republicans running in statewide elections have failed to connect with California voters – a not too subtle dig at the unsuccessful 2010 campaigns by current Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Meg Whitman for governor and former HP head Carly Fiorina for U.S. Senate.
“Politics isn’t all about money, and it shouldn’t be. We’ve seen time and time again Republican candidates in California raise and spend astronomical sums of money, only to lose by double digits,” Chavez said in a statement. “I’m a Marine, and no stranger to hard work and perseverance. My campaign will continue to be resourceful, innovative, and effective. Let me be clear - I am in this for the long [haul].”
Chavez had $9,528 cash on hand in his campaign account as of Sept. 30, having spent $31,987 on slate mailers, political consultants, travel and other campaign expenses, according to his report to the Federal Election Commission. He also reported $13,277 in campaign debt.
Chavez provided a copy of his campaign finance report to the Los Angeles Times. Thursday is the deadline for candidates to file their reports to the federal elections agency.
The vast majority of Chavez’s contributors were from San Diego County, mostly from Oceanside, Carlsbad and other towns in or around his Assembly district. Some of the top contributors included Timothy Moran, chief executive officer of Tri-City Medical in Carlsbad who gave $1,000, and Central Valley physicians Kajori and Kuldip Thusu, who contributed $2,500 apiece.
Chavez’s top Republican rivals in the Senate race are two former chairmen of the California Republican Party: Contra Costa County lawyer Tom Del Beccaro and Silicon Valley attorney George “Duf” Sundheim. On Wednesday, Sundheim reporting raising $241,118 for his campaign, and having $130,000 cash on hand.
The two top Democrats in the race are Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove.
According to a recent Field Poll, Chavez was the front-runner among the Republican Senate candidates, with support from 9% of likely voters. Harris topped the overall field with 30% voter support, and Sanchez was second with 17%. Del Beccaro had 6% and Sundheim had 3%, according to the poll.