Gatto raises more than $480,000 for new Assembly seat

Though running unopposed in an Assembly district redrawn last year to connect La Cañada Flintridge with Glendale and Burbank, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) has raised more than $480,000, records show, much of it from Fortune 500 companies, unions and Indian gaming interests.

Gatto’s supporters also include movie studios, Americana at Brand developer Rick Caruso, plumbers’ unions and telecom giant AT&T.

Hopefuls have until March 19 to declare their candidacies. Gatto said he had expected to face opposition this year due to fierce competition for the seat in 2010.

“I went through four very, very tough campaigns in 2010, and I didn’t know what they would throw at me this time,” Gatto said. “The filing deadline isn’t until March 2012, so in 2011 you had to work like you would have an opponent.”

Hopefuls have until March 19 to declare their candidacies in the upcoming June primaries.

The June election represents the first time local voters will use the state’s new “top two” primary system. All candidates will compete on the same primary ballot, with the top two vote-getters moving to the general election, even if they are from the same party.

Two Democrats have jumped out to early fundraising leads over one Republican in the race to replace termed-out Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) in the new 41st Assembly District.

The district includes Pasadena and South Pasadena.

Under maps drawn last year by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, the district extends all the way to Upland in San Bernardino County. It no longer includes La Cañada. Portantino has said he will sit this election out.

Pasadena Councilman Chris Holden raised $255,000 between March 21 and Dec. 31, and South Pasadena Councilman Michael Cacciotti collected $108,000 after jumping into the race Nov. 21.

Campaign finance disclosure forms for Claremont businesswoman and Republican organizer Donna Lowe were not available. Lowe, who has vowed to scale back taxes and regulations on business, said she began fundraising efforts in late December and has raised more than $10,000 to date.

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