When the veteran Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman announced in late January he wouldn't seek re-election in the 33rd District, it set off a mad dash for the rare open seat on L.A.'s Westside and opened the floodgates for campaign contributions.
Now, the contest to replace him is shaping up to be one of the most expensive races in California. The top five fundraisers in the race collected $3.6 million dollars in the first quarter of this year — and there's still a month-and-a-half before the June 3 primary.
There are well-known politicians in the race, including State Senator Ted Lieu and former L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel. But their fundraising efforts from January-to-March were eclipsed by a little-known fellow Democrat.
Attorney David Kanuth raised $798,453 without any support from political action committees and without lending or giving his campaign any of his own money.
Greuel raised $672,214. Most of it came from individuals as opposed to businesses and political action committees. She did receive some funding from PACs including Emily's List and the Stonewall Young Democrats.
Right behind Greuel is popular New Age author Marianne Williamson, who raised $636,842 — all from individual donations. Williamson announced her candidacy before Waxman said he wouldn't run, so she has been raising money longer than the others. Running without a party designation, Williamson has raised about $1 million to date.
Lieu, whose state senate district overlaps with Waxman's, raised $621,762. Lieu has loaned his campaign $55,000.
Public radio host Matt Miller raised $517,822. Again, most is from individual contributions.
On the Republican side, Deputy District Attorney Elan Carr raised $358,624, most of it from individual donations. He also lent his campaign $30,000.
Carr will have an uphill battle, not just on the money side: the 33rd Congressional district is 44% Democratic and 29% Republican, with nearly a third of registered voters declining to pick a party.
Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to report their first quarter fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission. There are 21 candidates in the race.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Marianne Williamson led all candidates in fundraising during the first quarter.