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Early fundraising sets stage for big-money congressional race

Posted: February 4, 2014 4:54 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2014 4:54 p.m.

The race to represent the Santa Clarita Valley in Congress is on and, if early results are any indication, November’s election is set up to be a big-money affair.
SANTA CLARITA - Three of the declared candidates to represent California’s 25th Congressional District — state Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, 2012 Democratic nominee and Simi Valley podiatrist Lee Rogers, and former Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland — collected tens of thousands of dollars in contributions in the most recent filing period, which ran from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, according to figures from the Federal Election Commission.

Leading the way in recent fundraising is Rogers, who collected $93,940 in the most recent quarter, according to the FEC.

The Democratic candidate said he has also seen an upsurge in donations since Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, announced Jan. 16 he would not seek re-election to another term.

Rogers said his campaign received funds from 1,300 donors in the week following McKeon’s retirement announcement.

“I believe these numbers reflect the constituency’s desire to send an outsider to Congress rather than two career Sacramento politicians,” Rogers said in a news release. “Washington is broken and it’s clear the public wants to send a common-sense problem-solver, like me, to fix it.”

Despite Rogers’ recent success at fundraising, the largest war chest in the campaign’s early going belongs to Strickland, who reported $418,271 in cash on hand and $39,755 in contributions in the latest filing period.

“I think we’re in a strong position, and since we’ve announced for Congress we’ve had amazing support,” Strickland said Tuesday. “It’s very humbling to see the kind of support that we’ve been receiving throughout the district.”

Strickland entered the race to represent California’s 25th Congressional District, which covers the Santa Clarita Valley, on Jan. 21.

Before that, he had announced plans to run in the 26th Congressional District, where he appeared set for a rematch against Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley, who defeated him in 2012.

The majority of Strickland’s cash on hand — about $401,000 — came before he officially entered the 25th Congressional District race, records show.

Strickland said he told donors in the 26th district that there was a potential he would run for McKeon’s seat if the longtime congressman elected to retire.

“Those folks that supported me said, ‘We just want you to be a strong, conservative voice in Congress,’” Strickland said.

Rogers and Strickland both outpaced Knight, who announced in early December that he would run for the seat if McKeon declared his retirement.

Knight raised $21,888 in the most recent filing quarter and had $21,700 in cash on hand, according to the FEC.

“We got a little late start, but it is starting to move very quickly,” Knight said Tuesday. “We expect donations to jump exponentially moving forward.”

Another declared candidate, Lancaster resident and Air Force veteran Evan Thomas, reported $1,873 in contributions as of the end of the most recent filing period.

Thomas is running as a Democrat in the 25th Congressional District. The other declared candidate running as a Democrat — Llano resident Jorge Ricardo “J.R.” Puentes Jr.— did not have any financial filings on record with the FEC as of Tuesday.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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