Thompson facing longshot challengers in congressional primary

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    10/8/2009:A9: Mike Thompson
    Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, talks with Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) (??)
    during the House Ways and Means committee meeting to consider the rescue plan for the U.S. economy on Capitol Hill on Thursday, January 22, 2009.

Two Republican newcomers are all that stand between Rep. Mike Thompson and an eighth straight term in Congress.

Thompson, a Democrat from St. Helena who has never lost an election, has more than $1.2 million in campaign cash.

His opponents in the June 5 primary — Stewart John Cilley of Rohnert Park and Randy Loftin of Napa — have less than $10,000 between them.

Democrats dominate the new 5th Congressional District, which includes Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati and Sonoma Valley, with 52 percent of registered voters, compared with 22 percent Republicans.

"I'm a real longshot, I know that," said Loftin, 69<NO1><NO>, a tax and financial adviser who loaned his campaign $5,000.

"More than a longshot," said Cilley, 52<NO1><NO>, an accountant and member of the Sonoma County Republican Central Committee who said he is under the $5,000 threshold for filing a campaign finance report.

Thompson, 61<NO1><NO>, who is undefeated in 10 elections since 1990, serving two terms in the state Senate and seven in Congress, said, "your contributions reflect the support you have in your district."

Thompson reported $343,686 in donations from individuals and $581,264 from committees representing scores of business and labor groups through March 31.

He serves on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, known as a "juice committee" for the donations that flow to members.

Thompson said he will spend "whatever I need to get re-elected," but did not cite an amount.

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