Two of three Democrats vying to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock in California’s Congressional District 4 outraised the five-term incumbent during the fourth quarter of last year, according to campaign-finance reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Wednesday.
Regina Bateson, of Roseville, raised $260,000 in campaign contributions from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 compared to about $292,000 raised by Jessica Morse, of Pollock Pines. McClintock raised nearly $215,000 over the same period.
Morse, a national security strategist who spent the past 10 years working with the Defense Department, State Department and USAID, also raised more money than McClintock in the third quarter of last year.
She had about $27,000 more in cash on hand at the end of the year than the veteran conservative politician, with nearly $489,000 compared to McClintock’s $462,000.
“It means we can win,” Morse said. “Political experts say if the challenger can raise half of the resources as the incumbent, they have a good shot.”
As of Wednesday evening, McClintock and his campaign team had not responded to questions sent via email earlier in the day.
Morse attributed her fundraising success to running a positive campaign and making an effort to meet face-to-face with constituents throughout the district, which covers 10 counties stretching from Placer County south to Fresno County.
“It’s been inspiring that, even without having political infrastructure or donor network, we were able to get this momentum,” she said. “We’re demonstrating that the political culture is changing.”
Despite the strong showing by Democrats when it comes to fundraising in the second half of 2017, the difference in expenditures over the whole year falls decidedly in McClintock’s favor.
McClintock spent nearly $440,000 on campaign expenses, compared to about $63,500 spent by Morse and nearly $179,000 spent by Bateson.
The four candidates in the race, which also includes Democrat Roza Calderon, will face off in a top-two primary on June 5 where the two who receive the most votes will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.
Morse said she will be focused on building a strong field operation in the coming months, which includes the recent hiring of field director Allison Boyer. Boyer served as field director for Wendy Gooditis, a Democratic political newcomer who defeated a Republican incumbent for the Virginia House of Delegates last year.
Bateson has about $276,000 in cash on hand with less than six months until the primary election. She suggested that McClintock was technically running third in the race based on social media presence, fundraising, and ground-level support.
“The question isn’t how is a Democrat going to get into the November election, it’s how is Tom McClintock going to get into the general election?” she said.
However, Bateson was far from ruling out McClintock as an opponent and believed he would likely be one of the candidates headed to November based on his advantages as an incumbent and that most registered voters in the district are Republicans.
Bateson, a political scientist with a PhD from Yale University, previously worked as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department, which she joined following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
She’s confident about her chances of advancing to the November election and defeating McClintock because of her grassroots campaign that has attracted more than 700 volunteers.
“They’re sick and tired of career politicians and the games and gridlock in D.C.,” Bateson said of District 4. “They are ready to step up and get involved with a candidate from the district and who is actually going to fight for our needs – jobs, health care, great public schools and a clean, safe, healthy environment.”
All three of the Democratic candidates tout their roots in the district. McClintock spent most of his life in Southern California and currently lives outside of the district in Elk Grove.
Morse and Bateson are both natives of the area, though Calderon says she’s the only one who can claim to have grown up and spent her entire adulthood in the district.
Calderon, a geoscientist who came to the U.S. in the 1980s as a refugee from war-torn El Salvador, was raised in Lincoln and now lives in Granite Bay.
Though she has raised less than one-tenth of the amount of money in campaign contributions as her nearest competitor, Calderon believes she can still prevail in June and advance to November on the strength of her progressive and inclusive message.
“People are looking for a candidate that everyone can get behind and not just the Democratic Party and I think I’m that candidate,” she said. “We have people from the Green Party, independents, State of Jefferson, ex-Republicans, progressives and Democrats”
Calderon is endorsed by the Justice Democrats, a national political action committee that supports candidates who take a pledge not to accept money from corporations and wealthy interests.
Some of the causes Calderon champions include campaign-finance reform, Medicare expansion for all, and free higher education.
Steven Castellano, a Republican who announced he was entering the race late last year, confirmed via email to The Union Democrat on Wednesday that he had taken himself out of the running, but he didn’t rule out a bid sometime in the future.
Contact Alex MacLean at email@example.com or (209) 588-4530.