By David Siders and Jim Miller
dsiders@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 – 11:00 pm

STOCKTON — Tim Donnelly parked his campaign RV outside a Stockton house one night last week, asked for a Monster Energy drink and walked inside to the applause of a small crowd.

It “means everything to me,” Donnelly said, that about 30 supporters paid the $99 price of admission.

But he asked for more “if you can.”

The appeal, made over pinwheel sandwiches, taquitos and a few empty bottles of wine, is one the Republican candidate for governor repeated over and over this month, as he scrambled through parts of Central and Northern California in this early stage of the campaign.

Yet for the purposes of raising money in a gubernatorial race, the Valley is barren land. Inland California areas where Donnelly has focused much of his attention have generated just more than one-tenth of all funds raised by major candidates for governor in regular elections since 2002.

The San Francisco Bay Area and the southern coast, which includes Los Angeles and San Diego, dominate the fundraising landscape, accounting for nearly 87 percent of all dollars raised.

The disparity is yet another indicator of the lack of political influence in less affluent and less densely populated reaches of the state. Governors visit infrequently, and a presidential visit, such as Barack Obama’s appearance in Fresno a week ago, is so rare it can consume local media for days.

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