Rob Zerban's first campaign finance report, filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission, shows he raised more money and has more cash on hand than any previous Ryan challenger had for the entire election cycle. The 2012 election is 16 months away.
Zerban (pictured) raised about $220,000 and has about $205,000 cash-on-hand. Only one previous Ryan challenger raised more than $100,000 total. . Last year's candidate raised only $12,000. Ninety-two percent of Zerban's contributions came from individuals.
Good news, but here's the rub: Ryan raised almost $900,000 in the last quarter and has $3.8-million on hand, since he's been steadily amassing it and has had to spend little in previous campaigns. Here's Ryan's latest report. Zerban's is not available online yet at the FEC. [UPDATE: The total Zerban raised includes $120,000 loan from the candidate.]
That included $149,000 in the second quarter from special interest political action committees, bringing his total for this election cycle to $298,000. The special interests love the chair of the House Budget Committee, and why wouldn't they, as he watches out for them at the expense of seniors and working families. Bankers, Wall Street, the health care industry, insurance, oil companies -- they're all there.
Since he first ran for Congress in 1998, Ryan has raised more than $5-million from special interest PACS -- 38% of all the money he's raised, according to Open Secrets.
"Paul Ryan is a favorite of Washington's entrenched special interests, so he will have no problem summoning their mountains of cash," said Zerban, a small businessman and Kenosha County supervisor. "But because of his disastrous campaign to end Medicare, my campaign will be able to raise the resources to educate the public about his assault on the middle class - and to march to victory in 2012."
Money isn't everything in politics, they say, but it's way ahead of whatever is in second place. If Zerban, who's off to a good start, is going to have a real chance against Ryan, he doesn't need to match him dollar for dollar, but he does need to raise enough to get his message out on television and to be competitive.
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