An examination of the latest campaign finance data shows a handful of contested legislative races are racking up some big bucks, through both candidate controlled committees and those operating independently of the campaigns.
These nine races -- seven in the Assembly, two in the Senate -- account for more than $37 million in campaign contributions through mid-week. Of that total, about $8.6 million has been raised through independent expenditure (IE) committees. All but one of these are open seats, which is probably the best explanation for why so much money is on the table.
The races are burning up the fundraising circuit in the Assembly (again, totals are from all sources):
AD 80 between Manuel Perez (D) and Garry Jeandron (R) has attracted contributions of more than $5.8 million.
AD 30 between Fran Florez (D) and Danny Gilmore (R) has brought in more than $5.1 million.
AD 78 between Marty Block (D) and John McCann (R) has attracted contributions of almost $4.9 million.
Just behind AD 78 in the cash contest is AD 15 between Joan Buchanan (D) and Abram Wilson (R) at almost $4.8 million.
And rounding out the top 5: AD 10, where the contest between Alyson Huber (D) and Jack Sieglock (R) has drawn a total of more than $3.4 million.
Two other races, which political junkies are watching in the lower house, are worth noting: the contest in AD 26 (Democrat John Eisenhut vs. Republican Bill Berryhill) at just under $1.4 million, and the AD 37 race (Democrat Feral Masry vs. incumbent GOP Assemblymember Audra Strickland) is just over the combined $700,000 mark but has seen increased campaign cash in the last few days.
But tops in legislative campaign cash this season... drum roll, please... is the battle royale in the open 19th Senate district between Democrat Hannah Beth Jackson and Republican Tony Strickland. Campaign fundriasing plus IE cash here totals almost $8.5 million.
The runner-up in the upper house: SD 5, between Lois Wolk (D) and Greg Aghazarian (R), at $2.6 million.
[update: The danger in a posting like this so close to the election is that the numbers are almost immediately out of date. Add some more cash to the above totals, including many more big IE moves -- more than $520,000 in legislative races -- just yesterday.]