Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Political Notebook: Fresno’s federal campaign contributions rank it 13th among state’s 58 counties

Fresno ranked 13th among the state’s 58 counties in federal political contributions for the 2012 election cycle, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The county donated close to $5.9 million. Just above Fresno was Santa Barbara County, which gave $6.78 million. Just below it: San Bernardino with $5.53 million.

Not surprisingly, Los Angeles County was in first place with more than $132.1 million donated, the center said.

The totals reflected contributions of $200 or more to federal political candidates, as well as parties, political action committees and outside spending organizations including super PACs.

Also not too surprising for Los Angeles: 51% of the money went to Democratic candidates, the party and leadership PACs, which just 28% went to candidates and groups on the Republican side.

The Fresno County totals showed again that while there are more registered Democrats here, much more money goes to Republicans and Republican groups. The GOP was at 65% of the total, and the Democrats at 21%.

That was already known anecdotally based on the number and cost of Republican fundraisers versus those for Democrats.

Totals in both counties don’t equal 100%. Where party percentages don’t add up to 100 percent, the rest went to outside spending organizations, third parties or independents.

The Center for Responsive Politics said that’s because the dollar amounts include contributions to outside spending organizations, third parties and independents, as well as corporate, labor and ideological PACs that are not affiliated with either party.

Of the other Valley counties, Tulare was 25th with $1.3 million contributed, Merced was 28th with $807,414, Kings was 32nd with $461,974, and Madera was 33rd with $452,432 donated.

Political Notebook: Obama has more Valley donors, but Romney has raked in far more cash

In city after city across the central San Joaquin Valley, President Barack Obama has attracted more donors for his reelection campaign than his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney.

But when it comes to the local cash haul, Romney rules.

Take Fresno, for instance. Obama had 2,214 donors with Fresno mailing addresses, while Romney had just 696. But those 696 donors gave Romney $438,050, while Obama’s more than 2,200 contributed $223,716.

The average per donor? It is $629.38 for Romney, and just $101 for Obama.
Across the region, it is similar story — Exeter, Visalia, Kingsburg, Hanford, Madera, Merced mailing addresses all show more Obama donors, but more total money for Romney.

It even holds true in a Republican stronghold like Clovis, where Obama had 455 donors to Romney’s 259, but Romney raised $135,107 to Obama’s $42,700.

Given Romney’s local high-dollar fundraisers, this is hardly surprising. The biggest of them all came in May, when Romney raked in more than $1 million at a fundraiser at the Sanger-area home of prominent west-side rancher John Harris and his wife, Carole.

Obama, by comparison, has never held a Valley fundraiser. All his campaign donations came from local people who took the initiative and sent in a check. The only exception would have been if a local wealthy Democrat attended one of Obama’s Los Angeles or Bay Area fundraisers.