Torrico moves to counter Harris’ buzz in AG race

There’s been a spate of news coverage in recent days of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris’ fundraising prowess in the Democratic primary race for state Attorney General – the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee all have written on her, noting her political and Hollywood backers and her $1.2 million raised in the year’s first half.

But hold on a sec, says Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, another Democratic contender for AG – who’s got the most money in the bank?

Torrico told me today his campaign war chest has had about $1 million come in since Jan. 1 – including transfers from his other campaign committees, though he said all of it has been raised from contributors in the past year to 18 months – and has somewhere around $915,000 cash on hand “which is really the only number that counts at the end of the day.” Torrico said his campaign – bereft of paid staffers since consultant Phil Giarrizzo finished a three-month, get-it-off-the-ground stint – has been “trying to run lean, we’re trying to get around the state” on the cheap, presumably so as to have more money when it’s really needed: TV ad time.

Harris’ campaign had noted yesterday that although its final numbers are still being tabulated and will be reported to the Secretary of State at the end of July, it will report raising $1.2 million from more than 2,400 donors, with more than $500,000 raised online. Torrico said today his treasurer is still compiling his campaign’s report, so he doesn’t know the number of donors, but he does know that about $50,000 came from public-safety-related sources – a factoid in furtherance of his “trying to march down the road of being the presumptive candidate of public safety.”

(Read as: I would support the death penalty for cop killers, and Harris won’t.)

Harris campaign manager Brian Brokaw noted later this afternoon that she’s “the only career prosecutor in the race for Attorney General and the only candidate to earn this tremendous amount of support from a broad cross-section of Californians. If there is one lesson to be learned from Barack Obama’s campaign, it’s the importance of building a broad base of support and mobilizing our backers early. The fact that Kamala Harris has attracted so many supporters in such a short amount of time shows that she has what it takes to win.”

(Read as: Harris raised more in six months than Torrico did in 18.)

In late and $5,000-plus donations reported since Jan. 1, Harris holds the lead at $455,038 while Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo – making his second consecutive run for the Democratic AG nomination – brought in $372,900 and Torrico clocks in at $132,700. Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, also in the AG primary race, looks to have raised $113,500 in these big-ticket contributions (not counting $45,000 out of his own pocket); Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara – who declared his candidacy in late May – looks to have raised $32,400 (not counting $107,464.76 he moved over from his Assembly account); and Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly of San Jose looks to have raised $26,000.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.