Editor's Note: These figures are based on federal reporting current as of 6:30 p.m. April 13.
In the eight-way race for the 47th District Congressional seat, Republican candidate Gary DeLong has raised the most money – $413,000 – double the amount of the next highest fundraiser, Democratic opponent Alan Lowenthal, according to the latest figures.
DeLong, a businessman and Long Beach City Council member, and Lowenthal, a California State Senator along with six others are running to represent Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and portions of Long Beach.
Candidates are required to disclose their campaigns financial information with the Federal election commission.
Here’s a breakdown of the donations the candidates received in 2011, the latest figures available.
- DeLong has raised the most: $412,947 from October 1. to December 31.
Most of the money ($407,447) comes from 447 individual donors, while the rest ($5,500) comes from four political action committees including the JetBlue Airways Corp. Crewmember Good Government Fund and the Valero PAC, both of which donated $1,000.
- Lowenthal, also a Long Beach resident, has raised the second highest amount with $205,630.
Compared to DeLong, a larger share of Lowenthal’s cash comes from political action committees ($54,505), but the majority ($146,125) comes from 138 individual donors. Also, Lowenthal has given his campaign $5,000 of his own money.
Some of the 17 political action committees supporting Lowenthal include the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 1, which donated $5,000 and the Maersk Inc. Good Government fund, which donated a combined $10,000.
- Republican candidate Steven Kuykendall, a Long Beach businessman, has raised $69,976 from 114 individuals. He’s also spent $37,028, the second most so far.
- The biggest spender is Democratic candidate Usha Jayendra Shah, a charitable organization president, who has already spent $99,206 and has reported no funds raised. In comparison DeLong has a spent $45,461 and Lowenthal $36,408.
- As of March 31, 2012, Republican candidate Sanford Kahn, a Long Beach business owner, has raised $9,350 and spent $8,636.
- As of December 31, 2011, candidate E. Peter Mathews, a college professor and educator has received $20 and spent nothing.
- The Commission had no financial information listed for two candidates: Jay Shah (D) of Long Beach and Steve Foley (R) of Cypress
To see the full chart click here, and then click on the District 47.
Running for the office is an increasingly expensive undertaking, according to Tracy Westen, vice president and CEO of the Center for Governmental Studies, a nonpartisan research group formerly headquartered in Los Angeles.
“Wealth has always been a factor. In the last 10 years, it’s become more important,” Westen said. “Politics is increasingly becoming a game for wealthier individuals.”
In general, the candidate who spends more money has an advantage, but not always. Case in point: Meg Whitman spent millions of her own money and ended up losing to Jerry Brown in the last race for governor.
Under federal law, an individual can donate $2,500 per election to a candidate for federal office. Individuals can also donate a maximum of $30,800 per calendar year to a national politica party committee.
Political action committees, also called PACs, can give $5,000 to a candidate per election and can also give up to $15,000 annually to any national party committee, and $5,000 annually to any other PAC.
And in July 2010, the country saw the birth of a new type of group, the independent expenditure-only committee – called “superPACs” – after the supreme court ruling in the trial of SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission.
Super PACs cannot give money directly to a candidate but they may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals and then spend unlimited sums to advocate for or against political candidates.
“What it (the Supreme Court ruling) has unleashed is very extensive independent corporate spending,” Westen said.
And it’s not just corporations that are giving more. Individual spending on political campaings is “skyrocketing,” according to Westen.
The contenders will appear on the June 5 ballot to represent the 47th Congressional District. The top two vote-getters in the primary election will advance to the Nov. 6 general election regardless of party preference or whether one candidate receives a majority of votes in the primary.
The primary election will include elections for U.S. President, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as state Senate and state Assembly seats.
As of Jan. 3, 2012, there were 356,549 registered voters in the 47th Congressional District with 42 percent registered as Democrats and 32 percent registered as Republicans, according to data from the Secretary of State's office.