The fundraising numbers for this quarter of the 38th Assembly District election cycle show challenger Christy Smith taking the lead over incumbent Assemblyman Dante Acosta.
Contributions for Smith’s campaign from July until September were $680,535, putting her ending cash total at $250,672. She has raised $1,087,257 from Jan. 1 until Sept. 22.
Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, raised $222,838 from July until September. His ending cash total is $109,264. He raised a total of $592,182 from Jan. 1 until Sept. 22.
According to campaign finance records, Smith had donations from fellow Democratic Assembly candidates, the Sierra Club, a handful of individual contributors and unions.
Larger donations were from entities such as the Women In Power PAC, the California State Council of Service Employees, the California State Council of Laborers, California Laborers for Equality and Progress and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project L.A. County Action Fund.
Smith said she saw a surge of support this cycle from women’s groups and grassroots organizations compared to the 2016 election, when she faced off against Acosta for office the first time.
“What has changed this time is the grassroots support and enthusiasm,” she said. “And I’ve heard from folks who have given $5 and folks who have given the maximum of $4,400.
“There have also been many women’s groups and organizations who have been very motivated this cycle to put women in office, as well as environmental groups that approve of my stances,” she said. “There’s more momentum behind my candidacy this cycle. Fundraising is always hard on both sides of the aisle, but the momentum of the election is very reliant on the motivation of my potential constituents.”
Smith also said she had been supported by organizations representing service responders like L.A. County Fire, Ventura County Fire and other service unions.
Acosta said he didn’t believe fundraising totals were indicative of who 38th Assembly District voters would elect in November.
“I don’t think who has the lead is significant from one quarter to the next,” he said. “It’s ultimately up to the voters who they think is best able to serve this district.”
Acosta saw large donations from the California Manufacturers and Technology Association PAC, the California Medical Association PAC, the California Building Industry Association PAC, the California Restaurant Association PAC and fellow Republican Assembly candidates.
“Most of my fundraising is done on an individual basis,” he said. “I look for individuals and small businesses from the district, and I am proud to have that support for my re-election. They know I’m someone who’s been working hard.”
He said that the Democratic Party majority in the California Legislature gave Smith a monetary advantage over him.
“But I think the public understands I have the most diverse and in-depth resume of the candidates,” he said. “I have a significant business background running businesses of all sizes, and I had local government experience and worked in multiple industries. I think that gives me an edge in terms of knowing how I can best serve the district.”
Campaign finance data showed Acosta outraised Smith by nearly $200,000 last year, with the assemblyman raising $322,854 last year while Smith received $128,442.
At the end of the reporting period in December, Acosta had $159,325 cash on hand while Smith had $75,858.