SAN JOSE -- With the primary in the San Jose mayor's race less than two weeks away -- and voters already casting mail ballots -- the candidates have revealed a fundraising haul that shows some challengers pulling away from one another.
Thursday night was the final deadline before the June 3 primary for the candidates to disclose their pivotal campaign fundraising totals. With mailers, TV ads and other expensive outreach in full swing, the reports show who has a leg-up to grab the two spots in the expected November runoff to succeed termed-out Mayor Chuck Reed.
Councilman Sam Liccardo continues to outpace the field, but he is just about at the voluntary expenditure cap of about $795,000, which all five major candidates have agreed they would not surpass. That's allowed his competitors to catch up a bit.
Still, Liccardo has spent more than $610,000, well more than his competitors. He's flooded the Web with banner ads and even launched TV ads that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, something the other candidates have been unable to do.
Leap-frogging into second place is county Supervisor Dave Cortese, at $567,000. He raised the most money of all the candidates in the most recent reporting period, which spanned March 18 through May 17. Cortese has a team of union supporters walking precincts and making phone calls on his behalf, and he has spent more of his cash on campaign consultants.
Falling into third is Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, at $477,000, who was a few thousand dollars ahead of Cortese at the last benchmark in March. She's spent nearly half as much as Cortese in the most recent two-month reporting period, and half as much as Liccardo overall.
All three candidates relied largely on special-interest coalitions to raise a large chunk of their funds -- Liccardo courting businesses, Cortese winning support from unions and Nguyen raising funds from the Asian community.
The other two candidates went it alone and raised less money. Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio still managed to haul in almost $300,000 from a wide array of individuals, raising more than Nguyen in the most recent period. And unlike the top three fundraising candidates, he has no paid campaign team, which has allowed him to send a few mailers.
Lastly, Councilwoman Rose Herrera has struggled the most to raise funds during the campaign with about $130,000 raised. She's only been able to muster a small online ad campaign and one mail piece.
The direct contributions tell only part of the campaign fundraising story. A handful of independent expenditure committees have formed to support and oppose various candidates, and among them have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the June primary. Most of the groups supported or opposed Liccardo or Cortese. But the independent expenditure committees had not submitted their full financial reports by early Thursday night.
Updated fundraising reports for candidates running in the five City Council races weren't expected to be available until Friday.
Gov. Jerry Brown's pre-primary report shows his campaign had $20.7 million cash on hand and no debt as of May 17, after raising about $1.07 million and spending only about $77,000 since March 18.
Moderate Republican Neel Kashkari's report shows his campaign had about $1.4 million cash on hand and about $40,000 in debt as of May 17, after raising about $2.7 million and spending about $2.1 million since March 18.
Tea party Republican Tim Donnelly's report shows he's in the red: His campaign had about $70,000 cash on hand but about $156,000 in debt as of May 17, after raising about $267,000 and spending about $214,000 since March 18.
But Kashkari, who has been closing in on Donnelly in the polls, would probably be in debt too had he not contributed $2 million to his own campaign this month -- the lion's share of the fundraising he reported Thursday -- around the same time that he began airing TV commercials and sending out mailers.
Separately, Charles Munger Jr. of Palo Alto, among the California Republican Party's most generous donors, filed documents this week to form an independent committee supporting the Kashkari campaign. Munger injected $350,000 into the committee's $415,000 coffers.
Reports also show heavy spending in the closely watched race for state superintendent of public instruction. Tom Torlakson, the incumbent, reported he has spent $936,000 this year with $191,000 on hand. His rival Marshall Tuck reported spending $835,000 this year, about $587,000 of it in the last two months, and he has $160,000 remaining. And the California Teachers Association reported spending nearly $2.4 million in support of Torlakson's candidacy.
In the widely contested race for secretary of state, only Democratic candidate Derek Cressman filed his report as of early Thursday night. He has more than $50,000 on hand and about twice that in debt. The remaining candidates -- including well-financed Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla who has been running television commercials -- had until midnight to file.
Staff writer Josh Richman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fundraising began Dec. 5, and the latest reporting period covers March 18 through May 17
Sam Liccardo, city councilman: $785,779 (latest reporting period: $79,640)
Dave Cortese, county supervisor: $567,327 (latest reporting period: $202,731)
Madison Nguyen, vice mayor: $477,498 (latest reporting period: $107,691)
Pierluigi Oliverio, city councilman: $298,270 (latest reporting period: $117,452)
Rose Herrera, city councilwoman: $130,660 (latest reporting period: $26,598)