Republican Rep. Dan Lungren took in more than $500,000 for his re-election campaign in the first three months of the year, outraising rival Ami Bera for the first time since the Elk Grove Democrat emerged on the fundraising scene in mid-2009.
Lungren, of Gold River, ended March with just under $900,000 on hand, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Bera, whose filing has not yet appeared on the FEC website, said in a release issued last week that he raised $366,000. He ended the quarter with a cash advantage over his rival, saying he has roughly $1.15 million in the bank heading into the June 5 primary.
Bera, who lost to Lungren in 2010 by seven percentage points, had outraised Lungren in every quarterly filing period since the July 2009 reports. Lungren consultant Rob Stutzman said while both candidates took in significant sums, the latest numbers reverse "what has been what has been a mostly two-year streak."
"He's finding a lot of support and he's working very hard to gather the resources to take on Bera," Stutzman said of Lungren.
Bera's campaign, meanwhile, touted its own numbers as a sign of "grassroots" support, saying in a release that 60 percent of donors this quarter were giving to the campaign for the first time.
A close registration split has made the newly drawn 7th Congressional District a top target this election. Lungren and Bera have huge fund-raising advantages over the other two candidates running in the primary and are expected to face off in a rematch in November.