Rep. Jared Huffman, just three months into his first term as the North Coast's representative in Congress, is already building a war chest for his 2014 re-election campaign.
The San Rafael Democrat said he raised nearly $80,000 in the first quarter of the year and needs "a minimum of $1 million to defend my seat next year."
Termed out of the state Assembly in 2012, Huffman raised $1.4 million to win the House seat vacated by former Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a Petaluma Democrat who retired after 20 years on Capitol Hill.
Huffman said Monday he regrets but can't ignore the reality that House members serving two-year terms must engage in "more or less non-stop" campaigning and fundraising.
"If you don't, you're vulnerable," he said.
His first-quarter fundraising effort exceeded his target of $70,000, Huffman said.
The freshman federal lawmaker spent more than $1 million last year on a tough primary battle against 11 other candidates, handily winning with more than 64,000 votes.
Norman Solomon, a west Marin County author and activist, placed third in the primary with more than 25,000 votes, just 172 votes behind Republican Dan Roberts in second place. Huffman beat Roberts with 70 percent of the vote in November.
Solomon's campaign website is still active and lists him as founder of the Coalition for Grassroots Progress, which sent an e-mail in February criticizing Huffman for not signing a pledge to vote against any cut to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.
In response, Huffman wrote on his Facebook page that he has voted against cuts to those programs but disagrees with "those who think absolutist pledges are a good idea."
Solomon said Monday that he has no campaign committee nor any plans to run in 2014 but is "not ruling it out."
(You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)