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Tom Campbell raises $1.6 million for Senate run

April 5, 2010 |  2:07 pm

Former Congressman Tom Campbell announced Monday that he has raised $1.6 million since entering the Senate race in January, with nearly 77% of that amount earmarked for the GOP primary in June. That dwarfs the amount of money he raised in 2009 for his campaign for the governor’s office, which he abandoned in January when he leaped into the Senate contest.

If Campbell stays on his current pace, he will have about $2.5 million to compete in the primary, a decent bank balance to contend with Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and former Hewlett-Packard chief and multimillionaire Carly Fiorina, assuming she doesn’t go all Meg Whitman and start writing multiple checks with lots of zeros from her personal bank account. Last year, Fiorina loaned herself $2.5 million, but she hasn’t shown the inclination to tap her personal wealth as much as billionaire Whitman, who was spending $358,439 per day in the first two and a half months of 2010 in the governor’s race.

Still, Campbell’s numbers are a far cry from what his campaign predicted when he joined the Senate race in January. Campaign spokesman James Fisfis has repeatedly said the campaign planned to raise between $5 and $10 million.

On Monday, Fisfis said he stood by those figures. In recent weeks, the campaign has been raising $200,000 per week, a number he expects will grow as election day nears, based on planned fundraising events and financial commitments from supporters.

“We’re very, very happy with these numbers,” Fisfis said.

Questions remain about Campbell’s financial status since his campaign did not disclose how much it spent in the first quarter of 2010. And the law professor has never been known as a prodigious fundraiser, one of the reasons he ditched his gubernatorial run against Whitman and Steve Poizner, who is also wealthy.

"The path of public service and teaching is rewarding, but it does not afford one the ability to invest millions of dollars in a campaign for office," Campbell wrote in a January e-mail to backers.

A clearer picture of the financial well-being of the three main GOP Senate candidates and their fall opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer, will emerge by April 15, the deadline for detailed financial disclosures required by federal elections law.

-- Seema Mehta