Capitol Alert

U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris leading in polls – and money

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has raised nearly $6 million for next year’s U.S. Senate race.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has raised nearly $6 million for next year’s U.S. Senate race. The Associated Press

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the early favorite to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, has raised nearly $6 million for next year’s contest, far more than her Democratic and Republican challengers – combined.

Harris, leading in public polls, reported Thursday that her campaign raised more than $1.8 million in the July-to-September period. Harris has spent $2.58 million since launching in January, and finished the period with $3.33 million in cash on hand. She reported $401,000 in debts.

Harris’ financial reports typically feature luminaries from Hollywood, Silicon Valley and beyond. The latest included contributions from former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown as well as the historian and television personality Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Her Democratic rival, Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange, has raised about $1 million, transferred $516,000 from another account and personally loaned her campaign $300,000. She concluded the latest period with $1.56 million in the bank and $309,000 in outstanding financial obligations.

In announcing the totals, Sanchez’s campaign manager Tim Allison said the congresswoman has run an efficient campaign and is gaining ground with each successive poll.

Though it’s early, the Democrats have clung to the top-two positions since Sanchez entered the race in May. Under the state’s election rules, if Harris and Sanchez hold on to their leads over the three better-known Republican candidates in the June primary both Democrats would meet in a November rematch.

Duf Sundheim, a former state Republican Party chairman who waded into the race last month, raised $241,000 and banked $130,345. Tom Del Beccaro, another ex-GOP chair, reported raising $145,142 this year, and had $55,274 to spend.

Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chávez, has gotten off to a slower start, raising nearly $94,000 since he entered the race in March.

“Politics isn’t all about money, and it shouldn’t be,” Chávez said, pointing to the state’s history of deep-pocketed losers, including many from his own party. “We’ve seen time and time again Republican candidates in California raise and spend astronomical sums of money, only to lose by double digits.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago