Fresno Democrat Jim Costa had another close call in his 16th Congressional District reelection bid last year, narrowly defeating underfunded and unheralded Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra.
Then he raised $80,000 in the first three months of this year — and spent $78,000.
The National Republican Congressional Committee quickly took notice, calling the amount “paltry” and calculating that Costa spent more than 97% of what he raised in the quarter.
But Costa doesn’t seem too worried.
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For starters, he says the amount raised was around $100,000 and not $80,000. Several of the checks just came in late. By comparison, fellow Congressman Devin Nunes, a Tulare Republican, raised $124,000 in the first quarter of 2015. (Both pale compared to Hanford Republican David Valadao, who raised $360,000 in the quarter.)
Costa’s biggest ace in the hole — and left unmentioned by the NRCC — is the $620,000 total in his campaign account. Costa says the plan is to reach $1 million by the end of the year in preparation for his 2016 run for a seventh term in Congress.
Even with Valadao raising $360,000, by comparison, that brings him to just $363,000 in his account.
Costa also is dominating his challengers in fundraising — at least so far.
Chowchilla Republican and Madera County Supervisor David Rogers is just ramping up his campaign and didn’t file a report.
Tacherra — who looks headed toward a third straight effort to oust Costa — raised $53,000 and loaned himself another $2,700. But he netted only around $40,000 and there is no indication of what happened to around $30,000 in debt from his 2014 campaign.