Capitol Public Radio

Ben Adler
Monday, February 1, 2016 | Sacramento, CA

New fundraising reports show two Democrats lead the field in California’s U.S. Senate race, just as they do in recent polls.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris ended 2015 with about $4 million in the bank, twice as much as her Democratic rival, Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Three Republican candidates, state Sen. Rocky Chavez and former state GOP chairs Duf Sundheim and Tom Del Beccaro, ended the year with no more than $70,000.

“Given the weakened state that Republicans find themselves in, in California right now, three candidates is two too many,“ says USC political analyst Dan Schnur. “We’ll see if they have the ability consolidate. Otherwise, we in all likelihood will see a Harris versus Sanchez runoff in the fall.”

If so, that would be the first time under California’s five-year-old “top two” primary system that two candidates from the same political party advance to the November runoff in a statewide race.

Recent polls suggest the majority of Republicans – and independents – have yet to pick a candidate. Schnur points out that most voters won’t start paying attention to the race for several more months.