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Gov. Jerry Brown is raising a whole lot of money

Though he hasn’t publicly announced his candidacy for re-election in 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown sure is taking in campaign contributions at a rapid clip.

Brown’s campaign committee received at least $2.34 million in June – of which $1.69 million came just in the month’s final week, according to reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office.

Among the contributors are an array of labor unions (such as the SEIU, IBEW and California Nurses Association); big businesses (such as WalMart, Bank of America, Nike and Anheuser-Busch); health-care entities (such as Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net and Kindred); gaming tribes (such as those operating the Morongo, Sycuan and Chumash casinos); and entertainment-industry folks (such as Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen).

Brown’s committee already had $7.16 million in the bank at the end of 2012.

So far, the only prominent names that have declared their gubernatorial candidacies for next year are former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks, both Republicans. Next year will be the first time that the gubernatorial race is subject to California’s new top-two primary system, in which all candidates of all parties compete in June’s vote and the top two vote-getters advance to November’s general election, regardless of party.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll in May found 48 percent of registered voters approved of Brown’s job performance while 36 percent disapproved and 16 percent didn’t know. Other polls have showed similar, growing support for Brown’s job performance and his budget proposals.

Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2013
Under: campaign finance, Jerry Brown | 5 Comments »

Joe Biden in SF June 17 to raise money for Dems

Vice President Joe Biden will visit the Bay Area later this month to raise money for the Democratic National Committee.

Joe BidenBiden is set to headline a breakfast on Monday, June 17, at the home of Doug Hickey, 58, – CEO of BinWise, former managing director at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and former CEO of Critical Path – and his wife, attorney Dawn Ross, in San Francisco’s pricey Sea Cliff area.

Tickets start at $500 per person; $2,500 also buys a photo with Biden, with another $2,500 for each additional person in the photo. Tickets to a private “clutch reception” with Biden cost $10,000 per person. The event is capped at 125 people and 50 photos.

Shefali Razdan Duggal of San Francisco, a member of the DNC national finance committee member and the White House Council on Women and Girls, sent out the invite with “a very personal perspective which I identify with Vice President Joe Biden.”

“Our current Vice President is one of the most remarkably kind and authentic electeds whom I have had the privilege to encounter,” Duggal wrote. “The Vice President has met my very introverted and reserved mother, and the manner in which he treated her, with tremendous dignity and respect, has and will remain within her heart for many years to follow. I would genuinely encourage anyone who has the desire and/or ability to attend this breakfast event with Vice President Joe Biden to do so, for the reason to meet and speak with such a sincere and radiant spirit.”

Biden’s visit will come less than two weeks after President Barack Obama is scheduled to raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this coming Thursday, June 6, at a reception in Palo Alto and a dinner in Portola Valley. Obama was last here in early April raising money for the DNC and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Democrats need every penny they can raise: Most experts say their chances of taking back a House majority in 2014 are slim to none, and next year’s U.S. Senate playing field looks to be weighted in Republicans’ favor.

UPDATE @ 8:35 A.M. FRIDAY 6/7: The date of this event has changed.

Posted on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
Under: campaign finance, Democratic Party, Joe Biden | 5 Comments »

Obama returning to Silicon Valley in two weeks

President Barack Obama will return to the Bay Area on Thursday, June 6 for a pair of pricey fundraisers to help U.S. Senate Democrats keep their majority in next year’s midterm elections.

Tickets for a 5 p.m. reception at the Palo Alto home of Mike McCue – who helped found tech companies including Paper Software, Tellme Networks and Flipboard – and his wife, Marci, start at $2,500 and range up to $12,000 per person or $15,000 per couple. But it’ll cost a cool $32,400 per person to get into a 6:30 p.m. dinner and discussion at the Portola Valley home of Sun Microsystems founding CEO and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and his wife, Neeru.

“With key second-term issues ranging from immigration reform to climate change to trying again on gun violence prevention, the stakes for holding the Senate couldn’t be higher,” said Wade Randlett, one of the president’s pre-eminent fundraising bundlers in the Bay Area.

U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., are expected to attend both events. Bennett now chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which these fundraisers will benefit; Schumer chaired the DSCC from 2005 to 2009, during which Democrats made significant gains in the Senate, and he’s currently the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate’s leadership.

A contribution of $32,400 enrolls one as a DSCC “Majority Trust” member and, along with other benefits, allows for attendance at the DSCC’s signature retreats.

These fundraisers will be held just two months after President Obama’s last Bay Area visit, during which he raised money in San Francisco and Atherton for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, campaign finance, U.S. Senate | 31 Comments »

California could be cash cow for Brian Schweitzer

As former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer considers whether to run for the U.S. Senate seat from which fellow Democrat Max Baucus will retire next year, you can be sure that Californians and Schweitzer are preparing to rekindle their campaign-finance romance.

Brian SchweitzerWhile running for his second gubernatorial term in 2008, Schweitzer raised at least $137,000 in the Golden State – and that was for a contest that didn’t affect the national balance of power as this 2014 Senate race could.

Among the almost 300 California donors to Schweitzer’s 2008 campaign were entertainment figures such as Rob Reiner, Larry David, Michael Keaton and Casey Kasem; tech and venture capital figures like Steve Silberstein and Andrew Rappaport; Obama bundlers Wade Randlett, Steve Spinner, John Emerson and Nancy Koppelman; and other politically connected folks such as retired appeals court judge William Newsom, our lieutenant governor’s father.

Baucus’ announcement that he won’t seek a seventh term in 2014 has Democrats across the nation signing petitions, working social media and otherwise excited about Schweitzer’s potential candidacy. Baucus just incurred liberals’ wrath April 17 when he was one of four Senate Democrats to vote against the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases; alas for those angry liberals, Schweitzer is pretty solidly opposed to gun control, too.

Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2013
Under: campaign finance, U.S. Senate | 9 Comments »

Pelosi to headline Eric Swalwell’s fundraiser

Someone who saw the item I posted earlier today about Rep. Eric Swalwell’s first-quarter fundraising prowess has just shared information that seems to cement the notion that the freshman has been embraced by the very Democratic machine that opposed him last year: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be headlining his fundraiser in May.

Tickets to the Monday, May 6 event at a Capitol Hill condo will cost $500 to $2,500 for individuals and $1,000 to $5,000 for political action committees.

That’s just two days after Pelosi, D-San Francisco is scheduled to headline a far cheaper Walnut Creek fundraiser for Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.

Pelosi last year had endorsed Rep. Pete Stark for re-election to a 21st term, but that and other powerful endorsements didn’t keep Swalwell from unseating the irascible incumbent in November. Some had speculated he might get a cold shoulder upon arriving in Washington from those who’d opposed his candidacy, but several signs – including this fundraiser, as well as his January appointment as an assistant minority whip – indicate all has been forgiven.

That’s potentially bad news for state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, who also had hoped to succeed Stark in the 15th Congressional District and has a campaign committee that’s raising funds. Corbett may well have the support of some local Democrats and labor unions, but if people of Pelosi’s stature keep raising money for Swalwell, he’ll be tough for anyone to beat.

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Ellen Corbett, Eric Swalwell, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

Swalwell raised big money in 2013′s first quarter

One of the Bay Area’s House freshmen was among the region’s top fundraisers in the first quarter of 2013, according to newly filed Federal Election Commission reports.

Eric SwalwellRep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, raised $262,810 in the first three months of the year, leaving him with $222,932 cash on hand as of March 31.

On its face, that’s more even than the $207,030 that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, collected in individual contributions to her campaign committee. But Pelosi also transferred in more than $136,000 from her Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund, which itself raised $671,400 in the first quarter. (Now THAT’s some serious scratch; don’t mess with the big dog, Congressman Swalwell.)

Still, Swalwell’s first-quarter fundraising outstripped that of every other Bay Area House member including Mike Honda, D-San Jose, who raised $214,000 while already in full campaign mode due to the challenge posed by fellow Democrat Ro Khanna.

Swalwell might also face a fellow Democrat in 2014: state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, who like Swalwell had hoped to succeed Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District but chose not to run against him last year. Corbett, who’s favored by many of the same local Democrats who had backed Stark in 2012, raised $16,201 in the first quarter of this year and had $114,963 cash on hand as of March 31.

Here’s a readout of the rest of the greater Bay Area delegation’s first-quarter haul, looking only at their principal campaign committees:

    Barbara Lee, D-Oakland: $69,482 raised, $29,804 cash on hand
    George Miller, D-Martinez: $79,253 raised, $215,537 cash on hand
    Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose: $45,240 raised, $571,704 cash on hand
    Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz: $32,650 raised, $70,731 cash on hand
    Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto: $50,186 raised, $319,929 cash on hand
    Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo: $34,728 raised, $976,878 cash on hand
    Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael: $95,152 raised, $116,503 cash on hand

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Anna Eshoo, Barbara Lee, campaign finance, Eric Swalwell, George Miller, Jackie Speier, Jared Huffman, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House, Zoe Lofgren | 2 Comments »

CA17: Honda raises $214k, Khanna holds 1st rally

On the heels of his well-bankrolled challenger’s campaign kickoff rally this weekend, Rep. Mike Honda announced Monday that he raised about $214,000 in this year’s first quarter toward his 2014 re-election campaign.

honda.jpgHonda, D-San Jose, faces a challenge in the 17th Congressional District from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna of Fremont, a former Obama administration Commerce Department official. Khanna raised a record-setting $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2011, when his plan was to succeed (but not challenge) Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District; Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell last year, and now Khanna will try to do the same to Honda.

But Honda, who since the start of this year has been rolling out high-profile endorsements including those of President Barack Obama and almost all California House Democrats, seems ready to put up a hell of a fight.

His campaign said Monday that he raised $213,944.74 from 345 donors from Jan. 1 through March 31, and has hired a formidable fundraising team to hit wallets near and far. Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, founder and principal of Arum Group LLC, will direct national fundraising efforts and Shari Rubin-Rick and Brittany Kneebone Feitelberg of Integrated Fundraising Strategies will guide the California money operation.

“In the last 90 days, we’ve added finance talent to build upon our on-going fundraising operation and we are moving ahead aggressively with face-to-face and online fundraising,” campaign spokesman Dan Cohen said in a news release. “In the second quarter, the Congressman will travel for fundraising events to Chicago, New Jersey, New York, and Los Angeles, and Mayor Ed Lee will co-host an event in San Francisco.”

Among the contributions Honda’s campaign touted are those from actor George Takei of “Star Trek” fame; Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer; and officers or employees from tech companies including McAfee, Phillips Electronics, Qualcomm, and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), a global trade association.

“This is a Congressman who works both for the people and the drivers of innovation in Silicon Valley,” Mielke said in the release. “He is known as a trusted voice to grow jobs, help families, and improve education. People at every level want to be a part of keeping Rep. Honda in Congress,” she added.

Honda started the year with about $78,000 cash on hand, so even the money he raised in the first quarter doesn’t put him anywhere close to Khanna’s $1 million bankroll. Khanna raised only $18,000 in the first quarter, but he was trying to remain somewhat under the radar (he didn’t formally announce his candidacy until April 2) and promises a much more aggressive second quarter.

Ro KhannaMeanwhile, Khanna – who formally announced his campaign earlier this month – held the first public event of campaign Sunday at DeAnza College in Cupertino. The “Rally with Ro” featured a performance by a local dance troupe, as well as speeches from supporters including two members of Khanna’s campaign committee: longtime local labor leader Sergio Santos and Lindsay Lamont, a student who took one of Khanna’s classes at Stanford. And, of course, the candidate himself gave a broad outline of why he’s in this race.

“In Silicon Valley, we reject labels and respect out-of-the-box thinking,” Khanna said. “We judge a person based on the merit of their ideas, not their party or their seniority or their title. Isn’t it time we had a Congress capable of doing the same?”

Khanna ran through a series of policy points geared toward Silicon Valley’s needs, such as “tax rules that incentivize companies to invest here at home instead of parking money overseas;” a need to “simplify government regulations at all levels so that businesses choose to create jobs in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara instead of Ireland or Singapore;” tech-oriented education system that teaches code to elementary school students; and immigration reform that welcomes and retains job creators.

“The world looks to Silicon Valley as a place for innovation, unencumbered by past struggles along national, racial, or religious lines. It represents America at its best; the 21st century at its best,” he said. “If you believe, then, as I do, that Silicon Valley not only can, but must shape American politics; that from here we can build a new politics for a new century, grounded in the founding ideals that define our nation; then I ask you to join this campaign.”

Honda’s campaign on Friday had offered up a roster of Silicon Valley politicians (including San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra, Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews); business and labor leaders (including South Bay Labor Council CEO Ben Field, Root Square CEO Shelly Kapoor Collins and Yonja Media Group CEO Dilawar Syed); and others who’ll sing Honda’s praises as a champion for the region. Honda himself was at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento this weekend, doubtlessly shoring up what few party-politico endorsements he doesn’t already have.

Read Khanna’s complete remarks as prepared, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 18 Comments »

New details on President Obama’s Bay Area visit

More details are now available on President Obama’s first visit to the Bay Area since he won his second term – a fundraising junket to benefit Democratic campaigns in next year’s midterm elections.

The president will arrive in the Bay Area on Wednesday, April 3 for two events that evening in San Francisco to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

First will be a cocktail reception at the Pacific Heights home of Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer – the billionaire former asset manager who bankrolled last year’s successful Proposition 39 – for which tickets cost $5,000 per person. After that, there’ll be a $32,500-per-person dinner hosted by billionaire heirs/philanthropists Ann and Gordon Getty. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is expected to attend both.

The president will remain in the Bay Area overnight and then attend two fundraisers on Thursday, April 4, to benefit the Democratic National Committee.

First comes a brunch at the Atherton home of Liz Simons and Medley Partners managing director Mark Heising, for which tickets cost $32,400 each. Then the president will attend a luncheon at the Atherton home of former insurance mogul and Levi-Strauss heir John Goldman and his wife Marcia, for which a $1,000 buys a basic ticket, $5,000 buys access to a photo reception as well, $7,500 buys lunch and photo reception tickets for two, and $20,000 buys access to a special co-sponsor reception.

Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, campaign finance, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

Obama coming to Bay Area for Dem fundraisers

President Barack Obama will headline his first Democratic fundraiser for 2014′s midterm election right here in the Bay Area next month.

The April 3 fundraiser in San Francisco will raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. According to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will also attend.

The White House confirmed Thursday that the president will be in Northern California on April 3 and 4 for fundraising events for both the DCCC and the Democratic National Committee.

My esteemed colleagues at the Chronicle reported last week that the president should expect to be met in San Francisco by protestors urging him to nix the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

The AP reports Democratic officials have said the president plans to headline at least 14 fundraisers this year for the party’s House and Senate candidates. Some of the events will be in Washington, but most will be held around the county.

Congressional Republicans say Obama is more focused on regaining Democratic control of the House in the midterm elections than he is on seeking bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems. Obama disputed that notion during private meetings with lawmakers this week.

Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, campaign finance, Democratic Party, Democratic politics, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House | 5 Comments »

Kamala Harris names Oakland attorney to FPPC

An Oakland attorney has been named to California’s political watchdog agency by state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Eric Casher, 34, will serve a four-year term on the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Casher practices law at Meyers Nave in Oakland; he serves on the boards of the California Bar Foundation and the Charles Houston Bar Association, and in 2011 was recognized by the National Bar Association as one of the “Nation’s Best Advocates, 40 Under 40.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC-Berkeley and a law degree from the UC Hastings College of the Law.

Also, Casher chaired a Young Professionals Finance Committee for Harris’ 2010 campaign for attorney general and, like Harris, was an active supporter of and fundraiser for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

“Eric’s commitment to justice, fairness and the rule of law will make him a strong asset on the Fair Political Practices Commission,” Harris said in a news release. “The people of California will be well-served by his diligence and his judgment.”

The five-member FPPC adopts and amends political and campaign-finance regulations, helps agencies and officials with record-keeping and reporting, maintains economic-interest records and investigates and punishes violations of the Political Reform Act. The governor appoints two commissioners, and the remaining three appointments are made by the state attorney general, the secretary of state and the state controller.

Posted on Monday, March 11th, 2013
Under: campaign finance, Kamala Harris | 1 Comment »