Surprise: Kanuth Wins Q1 Money Race Among Waxman Replacements

Surprise: Kanuth Wins Q1 Money Race Among Waxman Replacements

Each of the candidates in the running to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman in California’s 33rd congressional district–home to Breitbart News HQ–filed the first quarterly finance reports of the year with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, listing contributions and expenditures for the period from January 1 to Mar. 31. The battle is expected to be among the most hotly contested and expensive races in the country. 

The early reports from some of the strongest contenders help define just how expensive and tight the race really is.

Democrat David Kanuth, L.A. County public defender and a first-time candidate for public office, has seemingly come out of nowhere as a dark horse to lead all candidates with an astonishing $800,000 raised in the three-month period, with practically all of the money coming from individual contributions. Kanuth hasn’t even written himself a check, something most of the other serious candidates did, and has a very strong $752,000 cash-on-hand at the end of the reporting period. Kanuth’s campaign should be watched closely going forward, as he is now undoubtedly the most underappreciated heavyweight in the mix.

New Age guru, celebrity, and Independent candidate Marianne Williamson raised an impressive $637,000 for her campaign and wrote herself a check for $60,000, too, bringing the total closer to $700,000 raised for the first quarter. Williamson has brought in close to a million dollars since entering the race last fall, before Rep. Waxman announced his retirement, and has been “endorsed” by a number of high-profile celebrity residents of the district, including Kim Kardashian, Nicole Richie, and Eva Longoria. Ironically, despite their vocal support, none of the three made financial contributions to the Williamson campaign. Even more ironically, for a candidate running on a platform of aggressive campaign finance reform, Marianne Williamson has raised more money, overall, than any other candidate in the race. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Wendy Greuel, one of the heavier contenders in the race and an already established player after her failed bid for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, managed to raise $627,000 for the first quarter. Among Greuel’s high-profile contributors are Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, and DreamWorks CEO Jeff Katzenberg and his wife, Marilyn. Greuel previously worked as an executive at DreamWorks under Katzenberg. Greuel also received just over $20,000 in PAC contributions to her campaign, including $5,000 each from Emily’s List, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and the Off The Sidelines PAC, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s super-progressive women’s issues PAC.

Next up is Ted Lieu, Democrat State Senator from Torrance and the golden boy of the Democratic Party of California, who, somewhat surprisingly, only raised about $566,000 in the first quarter. Like Greuel, Lieu received about $20,000 from PAC contributions, but, unlike Greuel, Lieu loaned his campaign $55,000 of his own money. Some of the PACs that contributed significantly to Lieu’s campaign are the Asian Americans for Good Government PAC, the Bridgeport Education Inc. PAC, and the Pace of California School Employees. Lieu has $580,000 cash-on-hand at the end of the reporting period and enjoys the endorsement of the Democratic Party, making him a serious and viable candidate.

The final big fundraiser among Democratic candidates for the 33rd is Matt Miller, the journalist and former radio host, who was able to raise about $517,000 for the three-month period, including a $2,600 contribution from former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Miller also received $5,000 from Common Sense Colorado, the Democratic leadership PAC. While his campaign still has a hefty $480,000 cash-on-hand as of the end of March, Miller has a long way to go before he can spar with Democratic establishment favorites Greuel and Lieu.

Over on the Republican side, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Elan S. Carr managed to raise a respectable $328,000 for his campaign. Carr, the President of Alpha Epsilon Pi and an Iraq war veteran, is considered by many to be the only Republican with half a chance in the race, as the 33rd District is dominantly Democratic. Still, he faces an uphill battle, as his FEC April Quarterly shows he has just $285,000 cash-on-hand at the end of the reporting period.