Lt. gover­nor ri­vals bring­ing in cash

Can­di­dates for the of­fice have raised mil­lions, led by state Sen. Ed Her­nan­dez.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - PHIL WILLON phil.willon@la­times.com

SACRA­MENTO — Cal­i­for­nia’s 2018 race for lieu­tenant gover­nor, likely to be lost in the shadow of the gover­nor’s race, could turn out to be a pretty com­pet­i­tive con­test.

Money is pour­ing into the race for mul­ti­ple can­di­dates, ac­cord­ing to a batch of cam­paign fi­nance re­ports filed with the sec­re­tary of state this week. That’s in­ter­est­ing in part be­cause the cur­rent lieu­tenant gover­nor and gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Gavin New­som once dis­missed the job as a “largely cer­e­mo­nial post ... with no real author­ity.”

State Sen. Ed Her­nan­dez (D-Azusa), the fa­vorite of many es­tab­lish­ment Cal­i­for­nia Democrats, leads the field in to­tal fundrais­ing with nearly $1.6 mil­lion on hand in his cam­paign ac­count as of June 30. Her­nan­dez raised nearly $1.2 mil­lion in 2017.

Three of his Demo­cratic ri­vals have never run for elected of­fice but are prov­ing they are not ex­actly new­com­ers to pol­i­tics.

Eleni Kounalakis of San Fran­cisco, a for­mer U.S. am­bas­sador to Hun­gary and fundraiser for for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, has topped the field when it comes to rais­ing cash this year. Kounalakis raked in $1.5 mil­lion, which in­cludes more than $500,000 she con­trib­uted to her own cam­paign. She had nearly $1.4 mil­lion cash on hand as of June 30.

Los An­ge­les physi­cian Asif Mah­mood, who also helped raise money for Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, raised just over $1 mil­lion and has $846,996 cash on hand.

San Fran­cisco Bay Area at­tor­ney Jeff Ble­ich, a for­mer U.S. am­bas­sador to Aus­tralia and spe­cial coun­sel to Pres­i­dent Obama, raised just shy of $660,000 and has most of it in the bank.

The big­gest wild card in the race is Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Kevin de León (DLos An­ge­les), who has stock­piled $2.8 mil­lion in a cam­paign com­mit­tee for lieu­tenant gover­nor. And that doesn’t in­clude the $886,000 de León had socked away in his state Se­nate cam­paign ac­count.

De León this year has raised nearly $1.4 mil­lion for the race, which is note­wor­thy be­cause it’s still un­clear whether he’s ac­tu­ally go­ing to run for that of­fice.

So far, no ma­jor Repub­li­can can­di­dates are ac­tively cam­paign­ing for lieu­tenant gover­nor.

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