Huffman gives surplus funds to Democrats

08/07/2014

If fundraising abilities are any indication of how Marin residents will vote in November, two Democratic candidates will be headed to the statehouse and a freshman congressman will keep his seat in Washington. After the “top-two” primary ended with a Democrat and Republican in every race, the Democratic candidates continued to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, though at a slower pace than in the lead-up to June, according to campaign finance reports released on Thursday. The Republican contenders, on the other hand, had so few financial backers that only one candidate submitted a filing. Rep. Jared Huffman pulled in the most cash in the first half of the year, totaling $713,000. The largest donations came from American Crystal Sugar Company, whose contributions he returned in 2011 during a lockout of sugar beet workers; carpenters, painters, teamsters and electrical workers unions; and Loren Carpenter, a Pixar Animation Studios co-founder and Nicasio resident. With $333,000 in cash on hand to fend off a challenge from Dale Mensing, a supermarket cashier from Humboldt County, Mr. Huffman’s campaign decided to transfer some funds back to the party—$125,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee—and other electoral hopefuls, including Damon Connolly, Judy Arnold and Katie Rice for supervisor and Liza Crosse for Marin Municipal Water District board director. Marc Levine, the incumbent in the state assembly, raised $262,000 this year and has $218,000 stockpiled. He gained big bucks—$8,200 each—from realtors, domestic workers and public employee political action committees; Regina Scully, a president of a public relations firm in Mill Valley and executive producer of documentary films like “Invisible War” about rape in the military; Gregory Penner, a partner at a Menlo Park venture capital firm and a member of the board of directors for Wal-Mart and Hyatt; and David Crane, a lecturer at Stanford who’s criticized the underfunding of pension liabilities. The Republican opponent Gregory Allen, a Novato corporate recruiter, has raised $23,000 this year and has $4,900 left. His filing did not report any individual contributions. Mike McGuire, a Sonoma County supervisor running for senate, has received $334,000 this year and has $263,000 of it in cash. His largest donors, at $4,100 each, include Blue Shield of California, Anheuser Busch Companies and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. The Republican Lawrence Wiesner, a Santa Rosa accountant, brushed off any worries about fundraising. “There’s no way you’re going to enter the race, gather three or four million dollars and defeat the Democrat. It’s not going to happen. The only way to do it is to be persistent, to run and run and run,” Mr. Wiesner said, which is what he’s been doing since his first race as a write-in candidate for Congress in 1998. Because he’s knocked on so many doors and senses disappointment after so many corruption scandals in Sacramento, he thinks this might be his year.