BY BEN GOAD
Published: 31 January 2012 05:44 PM
Candidates for contested Inland House seats raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash at the end of 2011 as they jockeyed for position heading into the current election year.
Democrat Mark Takano jumped ahead of Republican John Tavaglione in the race for the Riverside-area’s open congressional district, according to newly filed campaign finance reports covering October, November and December.
Incumbent Reps. Mary Bono Mack, running for re-election in eastern Riverside County, and Joe Baca, in San Bernardino County’s west end, extended fundraising leads over their opponents.
Seven-term veteran Rep. Gary Miller has a $1 million head start as he prepares to take on a host of candidates hoping to succeed retiring Rep. Jerry Lewis.
Though Election Day is still nine months off, the reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission are seen as important indicators of candidates’ viability. Later in the cycle, campaign dollars are essential to buy advertising and hold events. But early fundraising is used to build momentum, said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.
“Right now, it’s about establishing credibility, which will then help earn fundraising, help … get media coverage, get the national party’s attention,” Rothenberg said.
With no incumbent in the mix, the race for the Riverside area’s new 41st Congressional District is expected to be among the most contentious in the region. Takano is a member of the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees, and Tavaglione is a Riverside County supervisor.
Before the current round of campaign finance reports, they had taken in about $160,000 apiece.
Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, Takano collected $125,472, and Tavaglione raised $87,345, the reports show.
“We feel confident that our strong fundraising support will continue and that we will have the resources necessary to win this election in November,” Takano said in a statement.
Tavaglione campaign consultant Jim Nygren, however, downplayed the significance.
“Supervisor Tavaglione’s far superior record of service in the district, vastly superior endorsements and far superior name ID will more than overcome Takano’s temporary fundraising lead,” Nygren said.
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