Republican and Democratic parties have poured nearly $450,000 into the 32nd Assembly District race between Democrat Rudy Salas and Republican Pedro Rios as they fight over majority control of the state budget.
As it has been in past elections -- when it was known as the 30th Assembly District -- the seat is the focus of one of the most competitive races in the state Assembly.
And local party leaders say the stakes are high in the Democratic-leaning district, whose last two Assembly representatives have been Republicans.
"We're not going to let the Republicans hold that seat," said Kern County Democratic Party Chair Candi Easter. "We want to take back that seat. We're going to take back that seat."
"This seat is critical to the state of California in that it will continue to allow Republicans to block the two-thirds majority" Democrats need to raise taxes without Republican votes, said Rios campaign spokesman Matt Braman.
Campaign finance reports filed by the campaigns for the period between July 1 and Sept. 30, filed on Friday, paint a clear picture of the 32nd Assembly money game.
Republican Party branches in San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties have poured $246,300 into Rios' coffers since the end of June, a whopping 63.5 percent of the $387,863 he raised in that time.
Salas has pulled in $200,446 in cash from the Democratic State Central Committee, about 44.8 percent of the $447,391 he has raised in the same time period.
Despite the influx of cash to the Rios campaign, Salas has been able to raise more, spend more and build up a larger campaign war chest.
Rios spent $120,114 in the past three months, after adjustments for nonmonetary spending and debt, and had $261,751 in the bank at the end of the reporting period.
Salas spent $344,698 over the same period but still had $360,853 on hand for the final month of the race.
1ST DISTRICT SUPERVISOR
Both candidates in the race for 1st District Kern County supervisor have built up debt to their campaign consultants as they move into the final weeks of the campaign.
Roy Ashburn has raised a little less than his opponent, Mick Gleason, but bolstered his campaign with a $25,000 personal loan and another $10,000 loan from attorney Milt Younger, one of Kern County's most prominent Democrats.
Ashburn has a combined additional debt of $11,368 to campaign consultant Stan Harper and Harper's business.
But he also had $68,769 on hand heading into the last month of the campaign after raising $42,223 in cash over the past three months.
Gleason owes his consultant, Mark Abernathy, $11,227 in new debts built up during the past three months. Gleason paid Abernathy $31,418 during the past three months to retire debt he built up in the June primary election, then acquired the additional debt.
Gleason raised $55,106 in the past three months but only had $12,000 in the bank at the end of September.
34TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, has not raised anything close to the kind of money being thrown around in the 32nd Assembly District contest for her 34th District race against Democratic challenger Mari Goodman of Tehachapi.
But according to the California Secretary of State's office, Goodman has not filed any campaign finance reports that would be required if she raised any money at all.