Central Valley

Denham lines up big money for lieutenant governor bid

Republican State Sen. Jeff Denham of Atwater is sitting on more than $1.1 million while he prepares his 2010 run for lieutenant governor.

Campaign finance reports released this week show that Denham has the money in three different fund-raising accounts:

One was set up for his 2006 re-election bid. It has a balance of $604,386.

He created a second to defend his seat from a recall attempt in June. That one has $308,110 left from the campaign.

A third gathers cash for his run for lieutenant governor. Denham has $220,184 in that fund.

The reports summarize Denham's fund-raising in 2008. They show that he continued to put money in the "Friends of Jeff Denham Against the Recall" fund several months after the June recall election.

Denham loaned the recall fund $300,000 from his 2006 Senate account. He could repay the Senate fund with the balance from the recall account.

He faced an expensive campaign against Rusty Areias in 2002, but has beat back relatively light opposition ever since, giving him an opportunity to build his political war chest.

Campaign finance reports show that Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and political groups throughout the year. He's the party's leader in the Senate, a position that makes him a focus for statewide Republican fund-raising efforts.

Cogdill's seat was not up for election this year. He brought in $840,229 and spent $621,095, mostly on party-building efforts.

Assembly members representing Merced and Stanislaus counties finished the year with less money in the bank.

Democratic Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani has $381,778 on hand. She defeated Merced County Planning Commissioner Jack Mobley to keep her seat in November. She represents the 17th Assembly District, which stretches from Merced to Stockton.

Republican brothers Tom Berryhill of Modesto and Bill Berryhill of Ceres finished the year slightly in the black.

Tom Berryhill's Modesto seat is considered safe for the Republican Party. He focused on raising money for other candidates even though he faced a challenge from Modesto Junior College student Taylor White.

Tom Berryhill closed the year $1.20 in his campaign fund.

Bill Berryhill beat Democrat John Eisenhut in an expensive race to represent the 26th Assembly District, which includes Turlock in the south and northern San Joaquin County.

Bill Berryhill raised $668,271 on the year, but spent $909,162. He had loaned himself more than $100,000 in 2008, and had begun fund-raising in 2007. Bill Berryhill finished the year with $4,121 on hand.