Political Notebook

Obama raises $86m in past 3 months

Associated Press / July 14, 2011

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WASHINGTON - President Obama collected $86 million for his reelection campaign and the Democratic Party during the past three months, giving him a large fund-raising advantage over the Republican field seeking to challenge him in 2012.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a video that the campaign had raised more than $47 million and the Democratic National Committee had brought in more than $38 million through the end of June, building a foundation for advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts in next year’s election. Obama’s team had set a public goal of $60 million combined.

The fund-raising totals outpace Republicans, who have collectively raised about $35 million so far, although some candidates have yet to release their results. At the same time in 2007, 10 GOP presidential hopefuls had raised more than $118 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney leads the GOP field in fund-raising, pulling in more than $18 million during the past three months. An independent fund-raising group supporting Romney’s presidential bid has raised $12 million this year.

Following Romney, former governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota collected $4.2 million and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman of Utah brought in $4.1 million, with about half coming from his personal wealth. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Tea Party favorite, has not yet released her totals.

Obama’s advisers have told donors privately they hope to match or exceed the $750 million they raised in 2008, anticipating a stiff challenge from Republicans amid rocky economic conditions.

Democrat wins election for Calif. US House seat
WASHINGTON - Democrat Janice Hahn won a US House special election in Southern California, thwarting a bid by Republican businessman Craig Huey in a traditionally Democratic district.

With all the votes counted in yesterday’s election, an unofficial tally showed Hahn with 55 percent and Huey with 45 percent.

Hahn, 59, is a Los Angeles City Council member and scion of a prominent local political family. Huey, 61, ran a largely self-financed campaign and was making his first bid for public office.

The two vied for the seat vacated by Democrat Jane Harman, who gave up her seat early this year to become president and director of the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Harman won reelection in 2010 by about 25 percentage points, and in the 2008 presidential vote, Barack Obama carried the House district by 30 percentage points.

Republicans saw an opportunity for victory because of California’s 11.7 percent unemployment rate as of May, the financial struggles facing the United States and the state governments, and the low turnout that usually marks special elections.

“On a traditional political landscape, Craig Huey shouldn’t have any chance of winning at all,’’ Dan Schnur, head of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said before yesterday’s vote. Still, “angry voters do unusual things,’’ Schnur said.

With Hahn’s win, the House party breakdown will be 240 Republicans, 193 Democrats.