Calif. congressional races attract big donations

SAN FRANCISCO -- The competitiveness of California congressional races this year is reflected in the campaign fundraising totals reported this week. Candidates in several tight races filed their reports for the quarter ending Sept. 30 with the Federal Election Commission late Monday night.

Among them:

_ In a San Diego-area race, Democrat Scott Peters reported raising $1.2 million in his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray and finished the quarter with $422,100 cash on hand. Bilbray, who brought in $676,120 from July through the end of September, ended the reporting period with $878,070 in cash.

_ Democratic state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley reported taking in $748,970 last quarter in her bid for an open Ventura County seat and ended September with $304,380 in cash. Her opponent, Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland, reported raising $557,400 and had slightly more cash on hand, with $366,400.

_ In the suburbs east of Sacramento, incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Lungren reported raising $515,740 but held $1.2 million in cash at the quarter's close. His opponent, Democrat Ami Bera, reported raising about $732,000 and has more than $400,000 cash on hand.

_ In a largely agricultural district north of Sacramento, Democratic Rep. John Garamendi reported raising $466,200 and holding $162,450 in cash. His Republican challenger, Kim Vann, reported raising $428,690 and held slightly less than Garamendi in cash.

_ Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney reported raising $635,220 for his race in a district spanning much of the northern San Joaquin Valley and held $1 million in cash on hand. His Republican challenger, Ricky Gill, reported raising $750,000 and ended the quarter with $1.1 million in cash.