Campaign cash puts politician dead last

WASHINGTON -- Mariposa Republican George Radanovich is raising money, but his campaign war chest remains smaller than that of his San Joaquin Valley colleagues, new filings show.

Radanovich reports having $124,572 in cash as of June 30. That's less than the veteran House member had on Dec. 31, and less than half the amount stockpiled by any other valley lawmaker.

Still, Radanovich's once-lackluster fund raising has picked up. He reported raising $121,029 in the past three months, twice as much as he raised between January and March.

"Congressman Radanovich has always raised what he needs to be re-elected," Radanovich's spokesman, Spencer Pederson, said Thursday, adding that "in the next quarter, we'll start ramping it up a bit."

Republican Devin Nunes of Visalia again topped the region's congressional delegation, with a reported $943,359 in cash.

Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza of Merced reported having $376,682, and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, had $320,058.

Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton, who toppled a powerful San Joaquin County Republican in 2006, has $519,170 available.

Lawmakers and political operatives alike carefully scrutinize the quarterly reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The money raised, stockpiled and spent can shed light on a politician's prospects, campaign commitment and ability to deter challengers.

But the time-consuming task of raising money can interfere with other priorities, and it's not everyone's cup of tea.

For the past several fund-raising cycles, Radanovich's total has lagged behind his colleagues.

"His focus has been on doing his congressional job and on taking care of his family," Pederson said.

Radanovich's wife, Ethie, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2007 and has since undergone a series of treatments. Earlier this year, Radanovich had to miss some House votes because he and his wife were consulting with doctors at the National Institutes of Health.

Sometimes lawmakers hold special events, like the fund-raiser Cardoza held in May at the Pimlico Race Course in Maryland. Donors were also invited to a June 9 "Casino Night" reception for Cardoza at Washington's Phoenix Park Hotel, according to an invitation posted on the non-partisan Web site. Costa hosted an "agricultural reception" last month for donors paying up to $5,000.

All of the valley members raise money through a combination of political action committees and individual contributors.

Cardoza raised 70 percent of his funds between April 1 and June 30 from PACs representing such entities as Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Mortgage Bankers Association.

Radanovich, too, raised about 70 percent of his money from PACs, AT&T and Chevron among them.

Bee Washington Bureau reporter Michael Doyle can be reached at or 202-383-0006.