Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

2014 Election: Which Calif. member of Congress has the most cash?

Rep. Darrell Issa is the top fundraiser among Southern California lawmakers
Rep. Darrell Issa is the top fundraiser among Southern California lawmakers
Lauren Osen/KPCC

It's six months until California's June primary, and with every one of the state's 53 Congressional seats on the ballot, most California lawmakers have raised about a quarter of a million dollars for next year's primary.

Some have raised more — a lot more — and they're not necessarily lawmakers in tough races.

Incumbents always have the advantage of name recognition. And they also usually have the advantage in campaign cash. 

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the latest reporting cycle ending September 30th shows Darrell Issa to be the top money raiser in the Southern California delegation. The Vista Republican often ranks near the top on lists of the wealthiest members of Congress, and he's no slouch at raising campaign cash: he's raised about $1.8 million for next year's race and has nearly $3 million in cash on hand.

RELATED: Find your Congressional representative with KPCC's new interactive feature

Committee chairmen are often the top fundraisers, and Issa is no exception: He chairs the powerful House Oversight Committee. His top funders include those who identify themselves as "retired," the real estate industry, lawyers and GOP/conservative groups.

Fellow Republican Congressman Ed Royce of Fullerton, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has raised $1.4 million, with $1 million in cash on hand.

Among Southern California Democrats, freshman Raul Ruiz of Palm Springs is the top fundraiser. He's raised $1 million dollars so far, with $876,000 on hand.  An emergency room doctor, Ruiz got much of his money from the health care industry, as well as retirees and unions. He had a tough and expensive race last year when he defeated Republican incumbent Mary Bono-Mack, spending nearly $2 million. Ruiz is facing a challenge from Republican state Assemblyman Brian Nestande.

A pair of local Democrats have fat war chests. Congresswoman Judy Chu of El Monte has $1.3 million in cash to spend, raised mostly from unions, the health care industry, tech companies, and the Chinese Restaurant Foundation. Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank has $2 million in the bank, mostly from real estate interests, the entertainment industry, and lawyers. A spokesman for Schiff, Patrick Boland, says after several tough races in years past, Schiff "likes to be prepared."

Just how much money do you need for a Congressional run? Last year, the tenth most expensive race in the nation was in San Diego. Nearly $2.4 million was raised in a race where Democrat Scott Peters unseated GOP Congressman Brian Bilbray.

Democrats have targeted the seat of Republican Congressman Gary Miller of San Bernardino. Miller has raised $687,000  so far with $863,000 in cash on hand. It's likely these totals will start jumping as the June primary approaches.

The campaign coffers of some members are in the red. Democrat Brad Sherman of Sherman Oaks, who had an expensive and bruising fight with fellow incumbent Howard Berman last year, has raised more than half a million dollars, but is carrying a campaign debt of nearly $700,000. 

Freshman Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod of Montclair has raised the smallest amount: just over $100,000. Last year, the political action committee of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped a money bomb in her race, helping her defeat Democrat incumbent Joe Baca. (Baca has moved into another district to challenge Gary Miller.)

One California lawmaker, Republican Congressman John Campbell of Irvine, has announced he's not running again. But he has nearly $400,000 in his campaign account. Campbell's spokesman said the Congressman sent a letter to everyone who donated money to his campaign this year, letting them know they could request a refund of their donation. If they choose not to, their money will be sent to the National Republican Congressional Committee's general fund for the purpose of electing Republicans to the House.

How much campaign cash has your member of Congress raised?