The race for California’s 24th Congressional District may be 13 months away, but two candidates have already built campaign war chests six figures deep.
Democratic Rep. Salud Carbajal — a freshman congressman who won the seat held since 1998 by former Democratic Rep. Lois Capps in November — is facing Morro Bay Republican Michael Erin Woody, and most likely, two-time Santa Barbara Republican candidate Justin Fareed.
According to reports released by the Federal Elections Commission on Monday, Carbajal finished the latest reporting period of July 1 through Sept. 30 with more than $1.1 million on hand. Fareed ended the period with a total of $258,528 in the bank, and Woody has a total of $11,200.
Fareed lost the November 2016 General Election to Carbajal with 46.7 percent of the vote following a bitter campaign that saw the two candidates exchange jabs on television and radio, and at a series of heated debates. Fareed became the Republican candidate for the district after knocking out two other Republicans, including former Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian.
Fareed, who sent a news release Monday saying he’s raised more than $215,000 in one month, also said he is still “exploring” whether to run for the seat.
Quarterly filings for the period ending Sept. 30 show that of the three candidates, Carbajal raised the most in the latest filing period — $345,503 — and spent a total of $91,634, leaving him $1,121,557. Most of his individual donors include people in the public sector, as well as many donors in the healthcare, legal and academic fields.
Prior to winning his seat in Congress, Carbajal served for eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, and later, for three terms on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. Tess Whittlesey, a spokeswoman for Carbajal’s campaign, said Carbajal raised money this quarter through his email newsletter and via phone calls to past supporters.
A majority of Carbajal’s donations this quarter — 58 percent — came from individuals within the district. However, roughly $108,000 came from various political action committees and about $36,540, or 10.5 percent, came from individuals outside the district.
Fareed, who’s run for Congress twice, says he works as president of his parents’ business, ProBand Sports Industries, and is also a rancher in Kern County. In his first run for Congress in 2014, he came within 615 votes of defeating fellow Republican Chris Mitchum in the June primary.
Fareed, who filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC on Aug. 16, reportedly raised $215,564 from July 1 to Sept. 30, and spent approximately $11,357. He has $258,528 remaining on hand.
Many of his financial supporters include large- and small-business owners and retirees, as well as many people from the real estate and financial industries. Austin Stukins, spokesman for Fareed, said Monday that Fareed has not held any fundraisers for the 2018 election cycle, but he sent a letter to past supporters when he reopened his campaign committee. Stukins said most of the money raised has come from phone calls to people who urged him to run.
Most of Fareed’s 149 individual donors, about 58 percent, reside within the district. However, 57 percent of the total $215,564 he raised in the latest period came from 26 donors outside the district, most of which donated the maximum amount for one election cycle, $2,700 for an individual and $5,400 for a joint contribution.
“I’m humbled and honored to have 58 percent of those who contributed in response to reopening my committee reside in our district,” Fareed wrote in response to questions Monday. “The momentum has not slowed down since we came so close in 2016. In fact, we’ve organically garnered new supporters since last November and previous supporters are looking forward to the possibility of a 2018 run.”
In response to Fareed’s fundraising, Carbajal’s campaign issued a statement Monday saying that Fareed’s donations from outside the district show “he’s more concerned in financial support from corporate investors outside the Central Coast than listening to concerns from our communities.”
Woody, who’s raised a total of $11,200 this election, raised $6,200 in the latest period, and spent $8,301. The majority of his financial support thus far has come from himself, or roughly $10,500 as of Sept. 30. His two individual donors reside in Morro Bay and Miami, Fla.
The 24th Congressional District spans San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties as well as a small portion of northern Ventura County.
The next round of quarterly reports are due to be filed to the FEC on Jan. 31, 2018.
Correction: This article has been updated to correct the amount of cash Fareed has on hand, and to correct his title at ProBand Sports Industries.