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Levin Raises Most Among Dems Vying To Replace Issa

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, attends a Donald Trump rally at the San Diego Con...

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, attends a Donald Trump rally at the San Diego Convention Center May 27, 2016.

With 10 candidates running, the campaign for Darrell Issa’s 49th congressional seat is all about who will be among the top two vote-getters in the June primary, and go on to compete in November.

One way to gauge the strength of candidates in the 49th District is how much campaign money they’ve raised and who endorses them.

It’s too soon to review campaign contributions for the five Republicans and one Democrat who recently jumped into the race after Issa announced he will not run again. But Democratic contributions tell a story, and the district’s Democratic Party is signaling who it might endorse.

Photo credit: KPBS

Democratic candidates for the 49th congressional district include, from left, Mike Levin, an Orange County environmental attorney; retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate of Vista; Paul Kerr, a businessman of Rancho Santa Fe; and Sara Jacobs of Encinitas, a former State Department employee and head of a nonprofit to benefit education in Africa, Jan. 23, 2018.

Campaign contributions

Campaign contribution disclosures for 2017 show Mike Levin of Orange County has raised the most individual contributions so far — more than $1.2 million. That’s compared to $640,000 raised by Doug Applegate of Vista who nearly defeated Issa in 2016. Paul Kerr of Rancho Santa Fe has raised $300,000 in individual contributions and Sara Jacobs of Encinitas, who jumped into the race late last year, raised $316,000.

Cash on hand

However, the candidate with the most cash on hand heading into the campaign season is Jacobs, who served in the State Department under President Obama. She is also the granddaughter of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs. She has contributed more than $1 million to her own campaign, and at the beginning of the year had $1.2 million to work with.

Businessman Paul Kerr has been campaigning for longer than Jacobs and has spent almost half a million dollars already. In spite of contributing more than $700,000 of his own money to his campaign, Kerr began the year with half of Jacobs cash on hand: $520,000.

Environmental attorney Mike Levin and retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate have not contributed significant sums to their own campaigns. Levin had over $486,000 cash on hand to start the year and Applegate, who has been campaigning the longest, had the least: about $250,000

Democrat Christina Prejean, an Airforce veteran, has recently entered the race and, like the Republican candidates, has not yet filed any campaign contribution statements.

Endorsements

Levin has the endorsement of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, plus four other congressional representatives.

Kerr won the endorsement of Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, last year.

Sara Jacobs campaign has recently announced she has the endorsement of San Diego’s two other Democratic congressional representatives, Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, plus Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.

San Diego's State Assemblywoman Toni Atkins stands behind Doug Applegate.

Applegate also has backing from a variety of labor groups, while electrical workers and longshoremen locals support Levin.

Jacobs is endorsed by Emily’s List, while Levin is supported by the National Organization of Women and the League of Conservation Voters.

Kerr is supported by San Diego Democratic Councilman David Alvarez. But Levin has won the endorsement of two others on the San Diego City Council — Barbara Bry and Chris Ward.

At the Democratic Party pre-endorsement meeting on Jan. 28, Levin won 61 votes, Applegate won 37 and 6 voted for Jacobs. Though Levin won 57 percent of the total votes, that wasn’t enough to put him over the 60 percent threshold required for a party endorsement. Another vote at the statewide Democratic Party meeting in San Diego on Feb. 24 may narrow the field.

With 10 candidates running, the campaign for Darrell Issa’s 49th congressional seat is all about who will be among the top two vote-getters in the June primary, and go on to compete in November.

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