Are At Least 79 Fundraisers in August Alone Really Necessary?

There are 11 fundraisers scheduled for August 10 in Sacramento, mostly by legislative candidates or incumbent lawmakers.

On August 11, another 21 events are scheduled – a number representing more than half the members of the state Senate.

The following week, August 16 has five events, August 17 has 12 and August 18, 16 more. Another 14 are slated for the week of August 23.

That’s 79 fundraisers – one short of the Assembly’s membership and one short of double the Senate’s. It’s four times the 20 working days for the Legislature in August, the final month’s of the Legislature’s 2010 session.

Money is the mother’s milk of politics, former Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh said.

It’s money that pays for campaign advertising, consultants, polls and other election or re-election costs.

However, for most of the candidates hosting these fundraisers their election is not in dispute.

The redistricting plan drawn after the 2000 census maintained the status quo creating a comfortable majority of safe Democratic seats in both the Assembly and the Senate and maintaining the GOP minorities existing at the time.

Is there some question that Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrats, won’t win re-election in a county that boasts the second highest Democratic registration in the state?

Even if there were some doubt, he is seeking $1,300 at an August 10 cocktail reception for a re-election campaign that doesn’t occur until 2012.

So is Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, an Antioch Democrat. His next election is two years away.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, a San Francisco Democrat who is up for re-election in November, wants $2,000 for a dinner at The Kitchen.

Like Leno, is there some doubt she won’t be re-elected.

Similarly, Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, an Oakland Democrat, will be returned to office. Swanson received 42,342 votes in the primary to his GOP opponent’s 6,038. Alameda County has the highest Democratic registration in the state.

Orange County GOP Assembly members Chris Norby of Fullerton and Diane Harkey of Laguna Niguel will win re-election in the county with one of the state’s highest concentrations of Republican voters. Yet Harkey seeks $1,000 at an August 18 lunch. Norby wants $1,500 to attend an August 25 breakfast at a local sandwich shop, the Magnolia Café.

Going through the list of 79 events, a handful of events are lawmakers like Sen. Mimi Walters, a Tustin Republican, and Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, a Martinez Democrat, seeking statewide office. Treasurer and state schools superintendent, restively.

Only 12 fundraisers benefit candidates seeking their first term in the Assembly. Even so, if they’re Democrats in a district drawn for a Democrat they will win, vice versa for the Republican candidates.

On the other hand, Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, a Lodi Democrat in a GOP-leaning district, has a race on her hands in November.

In June her GOP opponent, Jack Sieglock received 39,534 votes to her 33,098. That might be why Huber wants a minimum of $2,000 to attend an August 10 cocktail reception.

Sieglock has an August 17 lunch scheduled at the Cosmo Café at $1,000 per person.

Democratic Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, a San Ramon Democrat, also faces a strong GOP challenge this fall.

She received 39,968 votes in June in her district, which leans the most Republican of any spot in the Bay Area. Her GOP rival, Abram Wilson, received 42,133 votes. She has a $1,000-a-plate lunch scheduled August 11.

Most startlingly, however, is that several lawmakers holding fundraisers are termed-out and not facing re-election.

Sen. Sam Aanestad, a Grass Valley Republican, failed in his bid to be the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. Term limits force him from office at the end of this year. He seeks a minimum contribution of $1,500 for an August 17 breakfast.

Van Tran — a termed-out Costa Mesa Republican Assembly member — seeks $1,500 at an August 17 breakfast.


Filed under: Fundraising


  1. I am so excited, just think of all of the canapes I can create for these wonderful parties.

    Comment by Julia Child — 8.10.2010 @ 9:44 pm

  2. Apparently they are either working so they are holding that many or they are not working forcing the necessity for a crazy number.

    Comment by Fundraising Ideas — 8.18.2010 @ 12:37 pm

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