Two of the three congressional candidates for the 22nd District are working with a combined campaign budget of close to three million dollars. That’s a lot of leaflets.
According to the Federal Election Commission — the government agency that monitors election issues such as campaign finance — Republican candidate Beth Rogers has spent approximately $1.44 million, and her opponent, incumbent Lois Capps, has spent approximately $1.33 million. No campaign finance information for Libertarian candidate James Hill was available.
Rogers has raised about $44,000 from Political Action Committees, whereas Capps has raised close to $500,000 from PACs. Rogers’ campaign manager Bob Tapella said name recognition, which his candidate is attempting to achieve, has played a role in their ability to raise campaign funds.
“The difference is Lois started campaigning with six years of name identification under her belt, whereas Beth is starting from scratch,” he said. “When one is a challenger versus an incumbent, they need to develop name identification before they have money coming in from a bunch of [PACs].”
Capps has received thousands of dollars from PACs such as the American Medical Association, the National Association of Realtors and Women’s Political Committee. Her spokesperson, Marla Viorst, said Capps has always received support from health-based committees.
“Lois is one of three nurses in congress, so health issues have always been top priority to her,” she said. “She is on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the health sub-committee that’s part of the Energy and Commerce Committee. She is a leader in health care and people recognize that.”
In order to compensate for her lack of name recognition, Rogers had to put forth close to $767,000 of her own money in the form of a loan, Tapella said.
“It’s a candidate contribution that comes from Beth’s personal funds. By making it a loan verses a direct contribution, she can be reimbursed with any leftover campaign funds,” he said. “That money came out of her retirement fund.”
The rest of Rogers’ campaign funds have come from individual contributions totaling over $661,000. Tapella said Rogers has gathered many individual contributions herself.
“Basically she is dialing for dollars,” he said. “Beth is on the phone calling every friend she’s ever had since grade school and asking them to contribute.”
Viorst said Capps’ individual contributions come from two sources, personnel donations and campaign fundraisers on her behalf.
“People have come forward to donate toward Lois’ campaign fund without us ever asking them to donate, because they believe so strongly in her issues,” she said. “She is very open to friends and supporters who want to have fundraising events for her campaign, however she doesn’t seek these events out.”
The majority of both candidates’ campaign funds goes toward handouts, media outlets such as newspaper, television and radio advertisements, and campaigning events. Viorst said their office is also focusing on door-to-door campaigning.
“Most of the funds go toward a very aggressive field operation that includes going door-to-door and passing out literature educating voters on Lois’ issues,” she said. “This is a very grass roots means of campaigning.”
Both candidates offices’ said they are right on track in their campaign finance efforts.
Hill was unavailable for comment regarding his campaign finances.