Pombo outraises McNerney, but Democrat raises record amount

Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, is handily outraising Democratic challenger and wind energy consultant Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton in the race for congressional District 11, according to campaign finance records filed Sunday.

Pombo collected nearly $1 million in the past quarter and has raised a total of $3.2 million in his re-election bid. The incumbent raised an additional $400,000 after the Sept. 30 reporting deadline during the visit from President George W. Bush.

McNerney, however, broke in this district a Democratic fund-raising record in the past quarter, collecting $713,800. He has raised a total of $1.2 million. McNerney also reports that he has collected an additional $250,000 since the reporting deadline.

The incumbent had significantly more cash in the bank as of Sept. 30, $1.1 million compared to $323,798 for McNerney.

As the candidates head into the final and most expensive weeks of the campaign, cash in the bank is a significant advantage.

McNerney is hoping a recent internal poll that showed him in a statistical dead heat with Pombo, coupled with a similar results from an environmental group’s survey, will attract much-needed money from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The national party has contributed to or spent $70,000 on McNerney’s behalf but its leaders had not yet included the candidate in its massive independent expenditure program.

Democratic strategists told the New York Times Sunday that they may take aim at Pombo if new polling shows the incumbent is sufficiently vulnerable.

McNerney has relied heavily on smaller contributions: 80 percent of his money has come from individual contributions compared to 54 percent for Pombo.

The balance of Pombo’s money has come largely from political action committees.
In addition, Pombo has benefited from the roughly $500,000 that the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent on anti-McNerney advertising in the district.

McNerney has also ridden on the financial wave of a half-dozen national organizations such as the Defenders of Wildlife, League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club. These groups have spent tens of thousands of dollars on anti-Pombo efforts, including advertising.