Politics & Government

Radanovich's fundraising picks up in second quarter

WASHINGTON — Mariposa Republican George Radanovich is raising money but his campaign war chest remains smaller than that of his San Joaquin Valley colleagues, new filings show.

Radanovich reports having $124,572 in available cash as of June 30. This is less than the veteran House member had on Dec. 31, and less than half the amount stockpiled by any other Valley lawmaker.

Still, Radanovich's once-lackluster fundraising has picked up. Radanovich reported raising $121,029 in the last three months, twice as much as he raised between January and March.

"Congressman Radanovich has always raised what he needs to be re-elected," Radanovich's spokesman, Spencer Pederson, said Thursday, adding that "in the next quarter, we'll start ramping it up a bit."

Republican Devin Nunes of Visalia again topped the region's congressional delegation, with a reported $943,359 in available cash. Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza of Merced reported having $376,682 available, while Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, had $320,058.

Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton, who toppled a powerful San Joaquin County Republican in 2006, has $519,170 available.

Lawmakers and political operatives alike carefully scrutinize the quarterly reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The money raised, stockpiled and spent can shed light on a politician's future prospects, campaign commitment and ability to deter potential challengers.

But the time-consuming task of raising money can also interfere with other priorities, and it's not everyone's cup of tea. For the past several fundraising cycles, Radanovich's available cash total has lagged behind his colleagues.

"His focus has been on doing his congressional job, and on taking care of his family," Pederson said.

Radanovich's wife, Ethie, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2007 and has since undergone a series of treatments. Earlier this year, Radanovich had to miss some House votes because he and his wife were consulting with doctors at the National Institutes of Health.

Sometimes lawmakers hold special events, like a fundraiser Cardoza held in May at the Pimlico Race Course in Maryland. Donors were similarly invited to a June 9 "Casino Night" reception for Cardoza at Washington's Phoenix Park Hotel, according to an invitation posted on the non-partisan Web site politicalpartytime.org. In a similar vein, Costa hosted an "agricultural reception" last month for donors paying up to $5,000.

All of the Valley members raise their funds through a combination of political action committees and individual contributors.

Nunes raised 87 percent of his money during the last three months from political action committees, a much higher rate than is usual for him. Costa, likewise, depended upon PACs for 87 percent of the funds he raised since April 1.

Cardoza raised 70 percent of his funds between April 1 and June 30 from political action committees, representing entities ranging from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Radanovich, too, raised about 70 percent of his funds from political action committees, representing groups from AT&T to Chevron.