Wendy Greuel announced she would run for Congress just hours after Henry Waxman said last week he would not seek re-election. Monday, she sent out her first fundraising email, thanking those who supported her failed run for L.A. mayor, saying she's "excited that we're going to get a chance to stand together again."
Greuel is raising money for her Congressional race even as she carries a $470,000 debt from her 2013 unsuccessful mayoral bid. She raised almost $7.3 million for that race.
Greuel will face another Democrat in the June primary — State Senator Ted Lieu, whose district overlaps with much of Waxman's
But both Greuel and Lieu are already behind in the fundraising race. Even before Waxman announced that 40 years in Congress was enough, new-age author and speaker Marianne Williamson had raised $345,000 to run as an independent in the 33rd Congressional district.
Waxman himself has a fat campaign war chest. According to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Democrat from West Los Angeles still has more than three-quarter of a million dollars left in the bank. Waxman can donate as much as he wants to the Democratic Party, or dole it out in maximum $2,000 gifts to other Congressional campaigns.
Waxman spent more than $2 million on his 2012 reelection; his opponent, businessman Bill Bloomfield, who ran as an independent, spent about $8 million — much of it his own money.
The latest FEC numbers released January 31st show several other retiring members of Congress also have leftover campaign dollars. Republican Buck McKeon of Simi Valley has more than half a million dollars at his disposal; fellow GOP member John Campbell of Irvine has nearly $370,000.
Two hotly-contested races in Southern California are attracting large amounts of campaign cash.
Inland Empire Republican Congressman Gary Miller has been labeled as the "most vulnerable" House incumbent in the country. He's ready for the challenge, with nearly a million dollars in cash in his campaign account. Two of his Democratic challengers have about half that amount in the bank: Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar has just over half a million dollars; Eloise Reyes has just under half a million.
Aguilar is the official party favorite; Reyes received nearly $100,000 from Emily's List and loaned her campaign the same amount. Former Congressman Joe Baca is also running in the 31st district, but he has just over $20,000 in the bank.
In Palm Springs, freshman incumbent Raul Ruiz has raised more than $1.5 million for his re-election race, with more than a million in cash on hand. His GOP opponent, State Assemblyman Brian Nestande, has attracted less than a third of the amount Ruiz has raised and has just over $300,000 in cash on hand.
Ruiz is a top GOP target, but in a media market that is considerably less expensive than the LA/Orange County market, he's got the cash to spend on television time.
In the race to replace Republican Buck McKeon in Simi Valley, Democrat Lee Rogers has just under $200,000 in the bank. Former state GOP lawmaker Tony Strickland has more than $400,000 in the bank; current Republican state Senator Steve Knight is a distant third, with just over $20,000 cash on hand.
And in the Irvine race to replace the GOP's John Campbell, Republican state Senator Mimi Walters is the money frontrunner, with just under half a million dollars in the bank; her two GOP competitors are far behind: Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach has less than $40,000 in cash; retired Marine Greg Raths has less than $25,000.
California's primary is June 3rd.