Democratic challenger Jessica Morse out-raised incumbent conservative Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) in the first quarter of 2018, according to new Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports.
Though McClintock, who has represented California’s 4th congressional district since 2009, is favored to win — the district is listed as “likely Republican” by the Cook Political Report — Morse’s fundraising success underlines Democratic enthusiasm in California.
Morse raised $357,337.30 in the first quarter, her best fundraising quarter yet. McClintock, by contrast, raised $326,575.45.
Overall, McClintock still leads the fundraising race, with $965,027.50 raised for the 2018 cycle. However, Morse is catching up, with $918,381.68 raised. She also leads McClintock in cash-on-hand, with $715,094.09 to McClintock’s $675,810.93.
Morse, though currently the Democratic frontrunner in a crowded field, is considered a flawed candidate because she has been accused of padding her resumé.
As the Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel reported earlier this month:
Morse, a 35-year-old veteran of the State Department, had described herself as a “national security strategist,” and raised more than $550,000 for her campaign. But her opponents, and local news media, challenged her credentials after finding that Morse had referred to herself as, for an example, “the adviser to the four star admiral at U.S. Pacific Command,” when she had been one member of an advisory team.
In California, where candidates can write their own job descriptions on ballots, that led to a series of challenges to Morse. The state rejected her request to appear on the ballot as a “national security strategist,” a “national security advisor,” and a “national security specialist.”
Other Democrats are also making a run at McClintock. The Sacramento Bee reports:
Since launching her camapign, Morse has raised over $900,000 while a second Democrat, Regina Bateson, has raised another $600,000, a sign of how energized the party base is. Morse and Bateson, who is on unpaid leave from her job as a political science professor at MIT, have been locked in a fierce fight for Democratic votes ahead of the June 5th primary. With McClintock expected to win the “top-two” primary, only one Democrat is poised to advance to the general election in November.
The 4th congressional district includes much of the eastern Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada range.
McClintock has been a leading conservative, a member of the Tea Party caucus and a strong advocate for raising the height of the Shasta Dam.