Democratic Rep. Josh Harder defeats GOP challenger in Central Valley district
A Central Valley congressman’s campaign fund spent about $7,000 in the last few months, leaving his campaign with a $19,000 deficit.
But in the final days before the election, John Laird gave his campaign another $4,000 – giving him a $26,000 surplus, according to campaign finance reports.
It’s the latest example of how the race for the Central Valley’s 1st congressional district between Democrat Josh Harder and Republican John Laird became a proxy contest.
Laird, the incumbent Republican who represented a central California district that includes Fresno, Merced, Madera, Tulare and Stanislaus counties, tried to out-fund Harder, the Democratic challenger. He spent more than $20,000 and had nearly $100,000 more cash on hand than Harder, giving the GOP candidate an estimated $1.5 million advantage.
“I’m going to be very candid about it. We spent over $20,000,” said Harder, who had more than $100,000 cash on hand but had less than $7,000 in his campaign account as of Oct. 22.
Laird, for his part, said he has been careful with campaign funds.
“We have a pretty good cash-on-hand situation,” he said. “We have about $23,000 in the bank. We’re going to spend the same amount on the race. It’s all been spent – and it’s all over.”
Harder’s campaign is also struggling to cover its expenses in the wake of a series of revelations about his personal wealth and his political fundraising connections. The latest came on Oct. 9 when his campaign announced that its fundraising hadn’t been able to meet its commitments.
But the campaign did take in more than $11,000 in contributions that day – a total of $15,450.
Harder didn’t file his federal campaign finance reports until Nov. 20, as he’s been working to get the financial