WASHINGTON -- Republican Mike Berryhill is using more than $100,000 of his own money to jump-start his challenge to Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced.
In newly filed campaign statements, Berryhill reports having loaned $105,000 last month to his House campaign. The Ceres rancher reported receiving only one other itemized contribution, a $500 check from Turlock dentist David Woodruff.
"I think it's a viable race right now," Berryhill's campaign consultant, Carl Fogliani, said Thursday. "He's out there getting known ... and he expects to be fully competitive in fundraising."
Cardoza reported having $452,347 in available campaign cash as of Sept. 30, having raised $121,435 during the past three months.
"We're gearing up," Cardoza said Thursday.
The latest fundraising reports cover July, August and September, and are the first to appear since Berryhill announced his candidacy. So far, he is the only Republican in the race.
Political professionals parse the quarterly campaign finance reports carefully, for signs of both strength and vulnerability. Challengers, in particular, must demonstrate their own financial viability before national parties will invest in them. The National Republican Campaign Committee has not put any money into the race so far, though Republicans earlier this year aired ads targeting Cardoza and Democratic Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno.
"I think the party is excited about having someone who is going to be able to run a good campaign," Fogliani said.
Unlike some previous self-funding candidates, including Costa, Berryhill is not charging interest for his loan to his campaign.
So far, Berryhill has the most financially robust campaign of any San Joaquin Valley congressional challenger.
The Republican whose congressional district shares a portion of Stanislaus County along with Cardoza, Rep. George Radanovich of Mariposa, reported having $185,851 in available cash as of Sept. 30. This was more than he had available three months ago.
Radanovich raised $117,197 during the last three months.
"He's certainly stepped up his effort and his outreach to people," said Ted Maness, Radanovich's chief of staff. "We're entering into the political season."
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, reported having slightly over $1 million in available cash, having raised $183,913 over the past three months.
"We'll use the campaign money the way we always have, to try to get a Republican majority elected," said Nunes' chief of staff, Johnny Amaral.
Costa's latest fundraising totals were not immediately available Thursday afternoon.