Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Online Extra: Political Notes:
Out CA statehouse
candidates flush with cash


Assembly candidate Bryan Urias has solid fundraising totals this year for his race.
Photo: Urias for Assembly campaign
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Headed into the June primary, many of the 14 out California statehouse candidates are flush with cash.

Based on the latest campaign finance reports filed with the secretary of state's office, which covered the first quarter of the year through April 23, eight of the gay and lesbian candidates have outraised their opponents in their respective races.

Under the state's jungle primary system, the two candidates with the highest votes, regardless of party affiliation, in each race will advance to the general election in November. LGBT politicos are closely watching the outcome of next month's election, as it will determine if the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, currently comprised of the Legislature's seven out members, will be able to grow its ranks come the fall.

Two of its members, gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and gay Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), are termed out of office in December. The caucus' remaining five members are all expected to win their respective campaigns this year, while several of the non-incumbents are mounting strong bids to join them.

But several of the newcomers could see their bids come to an end in June, while four others have little chance of defeating the incumbent lawmakers they are running to oust from office.

As expected, all four of the incumbent gay and lesbian state lawmakers seeking re-election this year have netted significant contributions for their campaign accounts, money they can use to support themselves and other Democratic candidates facing more difficult races.

Gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) raised $222,294 this year and reported having $491,423 in his account. His Republican opponent for his Assembly District 28 seat reported raising no money.

Lesbian Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) raised just $94,026 in early 2016 but was sitting on a war chest of $529,038. The two Republicans in the race for her Assembly District 13 seat have raised very little money.

Lesbian Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) raised $183,870 through late April and had $510,146 in cash on hand. Her Republican opponent for her District 5 seat, Alan Nakanishi, raised $68,122 and reported having $60,938 remaining.

Gay state Senator Ricardo Lara, who is unopposed in his re-election bid to his Senate District 33 seat, raised $235,075 this year and had $338,925 in his account.

Lesbian Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who is running for the 39th Senate District seat, raised $166,029 this year for her campaign and reported having $1,212,885 to spend. Her Republican opponent, John Renison, netted $6,000 in contributions and had $2,259 remaining.

Among the out candidates that do not already hold a state elected office, this election season's most prolific fundraiser has been gay San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who is seeking the 11th Senate District seat.

He has far outpaced his Democratic opponent, Supervisor Jane Kim, in terms of fundraising. This year alone Wiener has netted more than $500,000 and he had nearly $800,000 in cash on hand as of last month. Since announcing his bid last year, Wiener's total fundraising haul is more than $1.3 million.

Kim reported raising $213,943.54 this year as of April 23, bringing her total since announcing her bid last year to $514,213. She had $359,893 in cash on hand, and in recent weeks, raised another $41,000.

Gay San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria , running for the Assembly District 78 seat, raised $102,170 this year and had $266,887in his campaign account. His Republican opponent has yet to report any fundraising.

Bryan Urias, a gay man seeking the 48th Assembly District seat located in the San Gabriel Valley, garnered $170,221 this year and had $166,246 in his campaign account. Fellow Democrat Blanca Rubio raised $27,598 and reported having $106,842 in her account.


Underdog campaigners

A number of the out legislative candidates are decidedly underfunded when it comes to their fundraising versus that of their opponents.

Katherine Perez-Estolano, a married lesbian Pasadena resident, is vying for the 25th Senate District seat. She netted $89,900 for her campaign by the filing date in April and had $68,135 in cash on hand.

Yet it was far less than that of Anthony Portantino, who raised $164,730 this year and had $836,647 in his campaign account. Another Democrat in the race, Plunte Riddle raised just $38,684 this year but had $85,209 in her account to spend.

The Republican in the race, Michael Antonovich, raised $128,343 this year and reported having $260,340 to spend.

Sabrina Cervantes, a lesbian who is trying to oust Assemblyman Eric Linder (R-Corona) from his 60th Assembly District seat centered in northwestern Riverside County, raised $29,226 during the reporting period and had $55,863 in her account. Linder, meanwhile, raised $129,154.52 and had $307,885 in cash to spend.

Palm Springs resident Greg Rodriguez , a gay married father who is HIV-positive, is running against Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) in the 42nd Assembly District, which covers most of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. He raised $30,037 and had $50,228 in his account, whereas Mayes raised $289,548 and had $420,244 remaining to spend.

Teacher Andrew Blumenfeld is at a significant cash disadvantage in his race for the Assembly District 43 seat in the Los Angeles area. He raised $62,795, including $15,000 he loaned his campaign, and reported having $25,391 in his account as of April 23.

Three other Democrats in the race netted roughly double or more in the first quarter of this year and have significant amounts to spend on their campaigns.

Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman raised $164,226 and had $183,956 remaining, whereas Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian raised $130,379 in early 2016 and had $250,985 in cash remaining. Rajiv Dalal, a former economic development adviser to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, raised $110,150 this year and had $170,484 to spend.

As to be expected, the two gay Republicans seeking state legislative seats have raised few funds for their races.

Matthew Craffey, president of the Log Cabin California Los Angeles chapter, is running against Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) for his 50th Assembly District seat. Craffey has raised $1,200 and spent most of it, while Bloom raised $81,700 this year and had $74,553 left as of late last month.

The other gay Republican, San Jose resident Anthony Macias, is running in the 15th Senate District seat and has yet to report raising any money.


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Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail

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