Kamala Harris, seeking to establish herself as the prohibitive front-runner in next year’s Senate contest, on Monday reported raising $2.5 million for her campaign.
Harris, the state attorney general, is the only Democrat so far in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer. She launched her campaign in mid-January and has held a flurry of fundraisers in California and Washington.
The first-quarter haul indicates Harris will be a formidable fundraiser despite operating under more stringent federal rules that limit individual donations to $5,400 and bar candidate contributions from corporations and labor unions. Her campaign said it had more than $2.2 million remaining at the end of the first quarter ending March 31.
“We are well on our way toward building a strong grassroots campaign that will reach every community of California,” Harris said in a statement.
Despite a crush of politicians with ambitions for higher office, the emerging Senate race has mostly been marked by high-profile figures bowing out of contention, with some instead planning to seek the Governor’s Office in 2018. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who chose the governor’s race over next year’s Senate contest, took advantage of the state’s higher limits to raise more than $725,000 within two weeks of announcing his candidacy.
Harris and her Senate supporters, meanwhile, have sought to create an air of invincibility, releasing a steady flow of endorsements from state and national figures and influential groups like Emily's List. Still, Harris is expected to face an intra-party challenge.
Among the Democrats considering Senate runs are Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of Burbank, Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles and Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana. Respectively, the trio began the quarter with $2.1 million, $1.3 million and nearly $400,000 on hand.
Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez of Oceanside announced his candidacy in early March.
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.