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Fundraising mismatches in North Coast congressional races

In terms of campaign funding, the two North Coast congressional races are colossal mismatches.

And their party's dominance in voter registration also makes Democrats Mike Thompson of St. Helena, a 14-year Capitol Hill veteran, and Jared Huffman of San Rafael, a termed-out state legislator making his first bid for Congress, prohibitive favorites in the November election, now just three weeks away.

Thompson, a prodigious fund-raiser who has never lost an election, collected $255,727 in campaign contributions since July 1, bringing his cumulative total to $1.65 million, according to reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission.

Thompson reported nearly $1.2 million in campaign expenditures as of Sept. 30, with $1.4 million cash on hand.

Sixty percent of Thompson's reported contributions — nearly $1 million — were from political committees, with the rest from individuals.

Thompson, who was first elected to Congress in 1998, serves on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, known as a "juice committee" for the donations that flow to members.

His opponent, Republican Randy Loftin, a Napa financial advisor and political newcomer, reported $6,874 in contributions — all from individuals — and loaned his campaign an additional $5,000.

Thompson dominated the June primary election with 73 percent of the vote, competing against two Republican challengers who netted 27 percent.

Redistricting pushed Thompson out of the North Coast district he represented for 14 years into a new inland district, which includes Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati and Sonoma Valley, as well as all of Napa County and parts of Lake, Solano and Contra Costa counties.

But Thompson fits the new territory just as well as the old, Petaluma political analyst Brian Sobel said.


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