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Peters Vs. DeMaio: Where Things Stand In The Money Race


With Labor Day — the unofficial start of the fall campaign season — in the rearview mirror, the red-hot contest between Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and former Republican San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is in full swing. With that in mind, here’s a recap of where things stand in the money race.

Joe Yerardi, investigative reporter with inewsource, and Liam Dillon, senior reporter for Voice Of San Diego speak about the money raised in the race to represent the 52nd Congressional District on "Politically Speaking."

Peters Vs. DeMaio: Where Things Stand In The Money Race
Pundits predicted the San Diego County congressional race between Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and Republican Carl DeMaio would be expensive. They were right. Both candidates are over the $2 million mark.

Where the candidates stand

Peters and DeMaio are neck-and-neck in fundraising. They want to represent the 52nd Congressional District, which runs north from Coronado to La Jolla, and then east to include Carmel Valley, Scripps Ranch, Poway and Rancho Bernardo.

The Democrat’s brought in about $2.5 million (including about $72,000 of his own money). Like many incumbent members of Congress, Peters has been the beneficiary of much political action committee money, pulling in about $970,000 from PACs. He’s raised about $1.4 million from individuals.

DeMaio’s been pulling in the cash, too. He’s raised more than $2.2 million. Of that amount, about $1.8 million has come from individuals and $270,000 from PACs. He’s also banked about $150,000 from joint fundraising committees, almost all of which has come from a committee with major GOP gay rights supporters as donors.

This pie chart shows that 81 percent of contributions to the Carl DeMaio campaign have come from individuals. Twelve percent of DeMaio's contributions came from political action committees. A second pie chart shows that 58 percent of contributions to the Scott Peters campaign have come from individuals, while 39 percent came from political action committees.

In addition to being one of the most expensive races in the country, the contest distinguishes itself by the amount of money coming from within the district. As of the May 15 pre-primary campaign finance report, about 74 percent of all contributions from individuals had come from within San Diego County.

What outside spending groups are doing

The candidates aren’t the only source of money in the race. There’s an array of organizations plopping down big money on TV ads to support and oppose Peters and DeMaio.

For the past month, several outside spending groups on both sides of the aisle have made multiple ad buys cumulatively worth millions of dollars. These groups include super PACs such as the Democratic House Majority PAC, which last month purchased $58,000 worth of television ads to run during the last two weeks of the campaign, as well as so-called “dark money” groups that don’t disclose their donors such as the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS, which launched $700,000 worth of television ads in August.

In addition, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee — party-run committees whose sole purpose is supporting House candidates — have both reserved more than $1 million apiece in television advertising.

What to look for next

The next batch of campaign finance reports are due on Oct. 15. They’ll cover all campaign fundraising and spending between July 1 and Sept. 30.

What questions do you have about the Statewide General Election coming up on Nov. 8? Submit your questions here, and we'll try to answer them in our reporting.