In California’s wide-open Senate race, Rep. Adam Schiff builds big fundraising edge

Jul 17, 2023, 2:42 PM

FILE - Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing, on Capitol ...

FILE - Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 21, 2023. U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff has built up a substantial fundraising advantage over his chief rivals in California's 2024 U.S. Senate contest. Federal records show the congressman has nearly $30 million in his campaign stockpile as of June 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The crowded 2024 contest to fill the seat of retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is considered wide open, but U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff has built a substantial fundraising edge over his chief rivals, federal records showed Monday.

Schiff, a Southern California Democrat who rose to national prominence as the lead prosecutor in then-President Donald Trump’s earlier this month that he had raised $8.1 million over the past three months, ending with nearly $30 million in his campaign stockpile.

According to government records, his tally was followed by Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of Orange County, who reported raising over $3.1 million from April through June, and ended the period with about $10.4 million on hand in her campaign treasury.

That total gives Schiff a nearly 3-to-1 edge in campaign funds over Porter, although the March primary is still months away.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee from Oakland, another Democratic House member in the race, reported raising about $1 million over the three-month period and ended the quarter with $1.4 million on hand in her campaign account, well behind Schiff and Porter.

Former Google executive Lexi Reese, a Democrat who entered the race in June as a virtual unknown, reported about $1.1 million in contributions, but that included over $280,000 she gave to her campaign, government filings showed. She ended the quarter with $625,000 on hand.

“We don’t need more career politicians scoring political points. We need efficient problem solvers in the Senate,” Reese said in a statement announcing the fundraising figures.

It typically takes tens of millions of dollars to wage a successful statewide campaign in vast California, which includes some of the nation’s most expensive media markets. Recent polling has found the leading Democrats — Schiff, Porter and Lee — in a competitive race.

With the centrist Feinstein in the twilight of her career, the race is shaping up as a showcase for an ambitious, younger generation on the party’s left wing.

The seat is expected to stay in Democratic hands — a Republican hasn’t won a Senate race in the state since 1988. In California’s last two Senate races, only Democrats advanced to the general election under the state’s top-two election system, in which only the top two primary vote-getters face off in November.

Republican Eric Early, a longshot in the contest who was an unsuccessful candidate for state attorney general in 2022 and 2018 and for Congress in 2020, closed his books on June 30 with about $80,000 in the bank. His contributions included a $25,000 loan he made to his political committee.

Former baseball MVP Steve Garvey, another Republican, has said he is considering entering the race.

In June, Schiff was censured by the Republican-led House on a party-line vote for comments he made during the investigations into former President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. During that time, the congressman was a frequent presence on TV and rolled out online fundraising pitches, including on the day of the vote when he urged supporters to “become a founding donor” of his Senate campaign.

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In California’s wide-open Senate race, Rep. Adam Schiff builds big fundraising edge