Political Notebook

Valley congressmen in competitive races flex fundraising muscle

Fresno Democrat Jim Costa has raised $1.36 million for his coming reelection battle.
Fresno Democrat Jim Costa has raised $1.36 million for his coming reelection battle.

As the fall campaign season prepares to kick into high gear, incumbents in the central San Joaquin Valley’s two competitive congressional districts are in commanding financial positions.

Hanford Republican David Valadao, the 21st Congressional District incumbent, and Fresno Democrat Jim Costa, the 16th Congressional District incumbent, both have well over $1 million in their campaign accounts as of June 30, according to new Federal Election Commission reports.

At the same time, their respective opponents have done decent fundraising jobs, but have little to show for it at this point.

In the 21st District, Bakersfield Democrat Emilio Huerta has around $57,000 cash on hand in his quest to knock off Valadao, who was first elected in 2012. In the 16th District, Burrel Republican Johnny Tacherra has less than $23,000 as he makes a third try to oust Costa.

It doesn’t guarantee victory for Costa and Valadao, but taken together, it is another obstacle for their challengers, who already face an uphill battle for victory. Incumbents historically have proven very hard to dislodge.

On the campaign trail, Tacherra will no doubt continue to tout himself as the guy who almost upset Costa in 2014. And he did that on a shoestring budget.

Huerta is a Latino Democrat in a district dominated by Latino Democrats, and his Democratic Party backers have made no secret that they will continually try to tie Valadao to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has disparaged Mexican immigrants in particular.

All total Tacherra has raised almost $360,000, but only around $28,500 between May 19 and June 30. Costa, by contrast, raised more than $191,000 during the most recent fundraising period, and has $1.23 million in the bank.

Huerta has actually done quite well raising money. His campaign is just six months old, but already has raised more than $300,000. Tacherra, by contrast, never stopped campaigning after losing the close race to Costa. Despite that, he still has only raised about $60,000 more than Huerta.

But Huerta has already spent more than 80 percent of what he has raised.

Valadao, by constrast, has raised more than $1.9 million this election cycle and has around $1.3 million in the bank.

Congressional fundraising

16th District

Jim Costa

Total raised this election cycle: $1,361,773

Total spent: $782,659

Cash on hand: $1,234,959

Johnny Tacherra

Total raised this election cycle: $359,456

Total spent: $339,688

Cash on hand: $22,620

21st District

David Valadao

Total raised this election cycle: $1,905,837

Total spent: $782,158

Cash on hand: $1,303,113

Emilio Huerta

Total raised this election cycle: $308,240

Total spent: $250,767

Cash on hand: $57,473

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