Fresno Democrat Luis Chavez, who is running for the 14th state Senate seat against incumbent Hanford Republican Andy Vidak, has been a fundraising machine this year.
There’s only one problem: He’s been spending machine, too.
Between Oct. 1 and 18 — detailed in the Chavez’s most recent campaign-finance report — he raised a whopping $628,348, but only around $380,000 of that was in cash. The remainder was non-monetary contributions such as food for volunteers, polling and other campaign-related spending done mostly by the state Democratic Party.
In fact, the state party has given Chavez $943,797 this year.
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At the same time, he spent $852,276. On Oct. 1 he had more than $225,000 in the bank.
Here’s the bottom line: Chavez now has around $91,000 in his campaign account, but more than $170,000 in campaign debt. So, his campaign is in the red.
He’s still fundraising, so in the long run it is unlikely he’ll stay in the red.
The Chavez-Vidak race — considered one of only two state Senate races pitting a Republican against a Democrat that are truly competitive — has been one of the highest spending in the state this year.
Chavez spent close to $1.7 million between July 1 and Oct. 18. Vidak’s total was $1.38 million. In addition, independent groups have poured another $1.34 million into the race. That’s more than $4 million in television and radio advertisements, campaign mail pieces and other election-related costs.