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Peters Leads Bilbray In Fundraising For 52nd, But With Big Self Loan

Aired 10/17/12 on KPBS News.

The latest campaign fundraising figures show Democrat Scott Peters ahead of Republican Brian Bilbray in the race for the 52nd Congressional District. But if you take away the money Peters loaned his own campaign, they are running neck and neck.

The latest campaign disclosures in the hotly contested 52nd congressional race show Republican Brian Bilbray has raised just over $2 million dollars, while democrat Scott Peters has raised more than $4 million.

Democrat Scott Peters and Republican Brian Bilbray, the two candidates for the 52nd Congressional District.
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Above: Democrat Scott Peters and Republican Brian Bilbray, the two candidates for the 52nd Congressional District.

However, if you subtract the $2 million Peters has now loaned his own campaign, the amounts are about the same. Peters put in $1.25 million of his own money just before the primary election. He has since added another $750,000.

The 52nd Congressional District is evenly split between registered Republicans, Democrats and independents. The winning candidate will have to appeal to voters across party lines.

Bilbray has represented a couple of different San Diego districts in Washington D.C. already, but this time he is competing for a redistricted seat where there is no clear Republican majority of registered voters.

Speaking on KPBS Midday Edition, Bilbray said his voting record is not strongly partisan.

"My positions have been rated between one and 100, one being most liberal and 100 being the most conservative," Bilbray said. "I’ve been rated for a lifetime at a 54. That’s about as moderate as you can be."

A tally of Bilbray’s votes by The Washington Post shows he voted with the Republican Party 90 percent of the time. But Bilbray said he has differed on some substantive issues such as ”clean coal.”

“I voted against that,” Bilbray said. “I know that 'clean coal' is as logical as 'safe cigarettes.' I know we are wasting money and time messing with coal rather than going to cleaner technologies. I voted against that. That would be counted as one across the aisle.”

Peters countered that Bilbray’s support of the Republican Party line on taxes is one place he parts company with moderate voters.

“These are not your parents' Republicans,” Peters said, “These are Tea Party Republicans who’ve said that no one will pay more taxes, including millionaires, billionaires and oil companies. We can’t balance the budget in a balanced way without some sort of moderation, and I think a lot of Republicans are supporting me because they realize this has just got out of hand.”

A Super PAC called Americans for Tax Reform has spent half a million dollars on negative ads attacking Peters.

Both Peters and Bilbray are facing a barrage of attack ads: the Democratic and Republican Congressional Campaign Committees have each thrown about $2 million against the candidate in the opposite party.

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