Political Notebook

Primary showing boosts Heng slightly, but Costa holds considerable fundraising lead

Congressman Jim Costa speaks is calling on House and Senate leaders to pass immigration reform in light of President Trump’s decision to end DACA.
Congressman Jim Costa speaks is calling on House and Senate leaders to pass immigration reform in light of President Trump’s decision to end DACA. Fresno Bee file

Republican challenger Elizabeth Heng surprised many in June by coming within six points of Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, in the primary election, but the longtime incumbent maintains a considerable financial lead over the first-time challenger heading into the final stretch.

Heng received 47 percent of the vote in the primary, but her fundraising has yet to catch up to such a seemingly winnable margin.

She enjoyed a good bump during primary season, raising about $150,000 from May 17 to June 30. Prior to that, she had raised about $158,000 total, including $39,400 from April 1 to May 16.

For the quarter, Heng raised nearly $190,000. She ended June with $115,000 on hand.

Costa, however, raised just over $256,000 in the quarter, and he has $1 million more cash on hand than Heng.

Most of Heng’s donations have come from individual donations, including bumps from big-time local Republican donors Richard Spencer, John Harris and others.

Costa has received more than $700,000 from PACs. Some came from large corporations, such as Chevron, Google, Comcast, McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, but most came from various agriculture or labor-related groups.

But fundraising has not been as large a determinant factor in District 16, which stretches from Fresno up to northern Merced County and is among the poorest districts in the country.

In 2014, Republican Johnny Tacherra raised about $350,000 to Costa’s $1.5 million. And yet Tacherra finished just 1,300 votes – less than 2 percentage points – behind Costa in the general election.

Rory Appleton: 559-441-6015, @RoryDoesPhonics
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