Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Counting the money in top legislative races

Who will sit in the Assembly Chamber (pictured here on January 21, 2016) next year? Fundraising totals announced this week will help supply the answer.
Who will sit in the Assembly Chamber (pictured here on January 21, 2016) next year? Fundraising totals announced this week will help supply the answer. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

The latest fundraising numbers are in, encompassing the period from late May to the end of June, which makes it a good time to step back and assess the dash for election year dollars in some highly contested legislative races.

Keep in mind this only accounts for direct donations. Limitless independent expenditures by interest groups can dwarf direct contributions, as the experience of candidates in the 4th Assembly District shows. But cash-on-hand matters as an indicator of a campaign’s health. Here’s what campaigns had to work with as of the end of June:

▪ Multiple contested Assembly races will help determine if Democrats regain a two-thirds supermajority. Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, a top target for Democratic leadership, had $990,820, outdoing Democrat Cheryl Cook-Kallio’s $205,219. Former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, hoping to reverse last cycle’s results and unseat Assemblywoman Young Kim, R-Fullerton, trailed her opponent with $287,057 to Kim’s $805,736. Another Republican battling a challenge from the Democrat he defeated in 2014, Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach, claimed a big advantage ($944,386) to Democrat Al Muratsuchi’s $67,913.

▪ The balance of power in the state Senate will hinge largely on the contest to fill the soon-to-be-vacant 29th Senate District seat. The contest pits first-term Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, against Democrat Josh Newman, and Chang trounced Newman with $509,902 compared to his $29,486. In the race for the 5th Senate with the former Republican Assembly leader sitting it out, Republican Alan Nakanishi ($113,265) trailed Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, ($686,477).

▪ Democrat-on-Democrat races have become a theme of this year, with multiple incumbents facing rare challenges. Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, appeared to be in good position with $271,731 while Eloise Reyes was $3,459 in the red. Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, had $125,040 as he seeks to fend off Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, who had $36,451 on hand. And Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, D-San Fernando, lagged former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, whom Lopez toppled in a shocking upset last cycle, with $17,862 compared to $103,875 for Bocanegra.

By the way, you can stay on top of this all year, and also track independent expenditures, with our nifty tool, The Money Trail.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Transgender Californians talk about why they need the support of elected officials.

WORTH REPEATING: “I’m gonna guess that if this movie ruins your childhood, your adulthood ain’t going so good anyway.”

– Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, responds to critics of the new all-female Ghostbusters ahead of a screening sponsored by Women in California Leadership.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2,131 campaign-finance reports were filed by Monday's deadline.

HOME FRONT: You may remember the so-called “Domestic Workers Bill of Rights” passing a few years ago and ensuring overtime for nannies and in-home health workers. Easing its passage was a provision to have those rights expire at the start of 2017. Now there’s an effort afoot to extend the measure, and today domestic workers are expected to rally outside the Capitol for Senate Bill 1015. Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, the bill’s sponsor, will join for an 11 a.m. demonstration on the north steps.

HOW FITTING: Back in California after a successful visit to Philadelphia, Gov. Jerry Brown will be in San Diego today to speak to a gathering of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinkler Fitters and HVACR Technicians. Unions representing plumbers and pipeworkers were among the many interest groups who donated to Brown’s successful re-election bid in 2014.

WELL, DONE? A massive natural gas leak from the Aliso Canyon storage facility near Porter Ranch has already commanded plenty of legislative attention this year. A bill to expand legal redress faltered and was subsequently revived, while Brown signed a measure halting further use of the storage facility until it’s deemed safe. Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and environmental allies will press for more, like bills to create new regulations on natural gas storage wells and to study the Aliso Canyon leak’s long-term health effects, during a 10 a.m. rally on the south steps. Activists with Food and Water Watch will be meeting with Brown administration officials to urge a permanent shutdown of the Aliso Canyon facility.

CHARTERED: Charter schools always occupy a politically sensitive place: beloved by school reformers and many politicians, often a source of wariness for influential players like teachers’ unions (and other politicians). Attorney General Kamala Harris’ recent announcement of a huge settlement with a for-profit charter operator has renewed questions about charter school regulations and accountability. Today the Senate Education Committee will delve into how charters are run and what could be improved, drawing on witnesses from school districts and charter operators. Starting at 9 a.m. in room 4203.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert. Jim Miller of the Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

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