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Dems Spar Over Fundraising for California Special Election

Updated: 4:50 p.m.

The Democratic frontrunners in the special election to replace former California Rep. Jane Harman (D) in the 36th district raised nearly the same amount in April, according to pre-primary fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn raised $145,000 from April 1 to April 27. Hahn spent about half of that, leaving her with $238,000 with just 10 days remaining until the all-party primary.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen raised $142,000 in April. She spent $130,000 in the month and has slightly more than $100,000 left in the bank. Bowen is also carrying nearly $77,000 in debt, while Hahn has about $24,000 in debt.

In a press release, the Bowen campaign criticized Hahn for accepting more than 60 percent of her donations from special interests. The campaign also touted Bowen’s numbers, noting that her donations have averaged $126. Bowen Campaign Manager Dan Chavez said Bowen’s “grass-roots support stems from being an independent leader who always puts principle ahead of politics.”

Hahn Campaign Manager Dave Jacobson knocked Bowen’s numbers in a statement to Roll Call.

“$102,000 cash on hand and $77,000 in debt — Debra Bowen even uses smoke-and-mirrors budgeting on her own campaign,” Jacobson said. “Janice Hahn campaigns like she governs, she out-worked her opponents, is budgeted wisely, and more importantly she's telling the truth.”

Besides self-funding businessman Craig Huey (R), who has loaned his campaign $500,000, no one else in the 16-candidate field has been able to keep stride with Hahn and Bowen.

Among those coming closest are anti-war activist and teacher Marcy Winograd (D), who has raised $73,000 since getting in the race following Harman’s retirement in February. Winograd, who challenged Harman twice, has $26,000 on hand. Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin (R) has raised a total of $133,000 and is left with $24,000 in the bank and $36,000 in debt.

Unless someone receives more than 50 percent in the May 17 primary, the top two finishers will advance to a July 12 runoff.

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