Candidates vying to replace retiring House members raised big bucks in first quarter

Tom MacArthur, candidate for New Jersey's 3rd District House seat
New Jersey businessman Tom MacArthur raised the most money this quarter among House candidates, but a $2 million loan to his own campaign is what put him on top.

A handful of candidates angling to replace retiring members of the House from New Jersey, New York and California are at the top of the fundraising heap for this quarter, according to the Sunlight Foundation’s Real-Time FEC tool.

Although a scan of the top fundraisers for the first three months of 2014 reveals some of the usual suspects – like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. – the winner of the money race is Tom MacArthur, a former New Jersey insurance executive hoping to replace retiring Rep. Jon Runyan. Real-Time shows MacArthur, locked in a tight Republican primary with Steve Lonegan, came out on top because he loaned his campaign $2 million. Other than that, MacArthur received only one contribution: a $1,000 check from a bank executive in Randolph, New Jersey.

New York’s Kathleen Rice, running for retiring Democrat Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s seat, brought in $1.47 million during the first quarter. The current Nassau County District Attorney received $10,000 from Off the Sidelines, fellow Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s leadership PAC, and $5,000 from abortion rights group EMILY’s List. Rice also received $4,000 from Nancy Pelosi for Congress and $2,000 from Friends of Carolyn McCarthy.

Three candidates vying for Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman’s 33rd District seat in southern California also brought in some big bucks this quarter. Real-Time data show Democrat David Kanuth raised $803,653 and bestselling self-help author (and collector of Hollywood endorsements) Marianne Williamson collected $697,842.38. Williamson loaned her campaign $60,000. And businessman James Graf raised a little more than $1 million, but Real-Time shows that just about all of it came from his own wallet.

A little further south, in San Diego County, Republican Fred Simon is running for the 52nd District seat, currently held by Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. Although Simon hauled in almost $970,000, Real-Time shows that $953,000 of that total is from Simon himself.

California’s so-called blanket primary system allows the top two vote-getters to advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation, making the June 3 primary a huge deadline for each of these congressional candidates.

And back on the East Coast, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., raised $737,379 during the first quarter. Shuster, who has represented the Keystone State’s 9th District since 2001 — after succeeding his father, former Rep. Bud Shuster — collected a large chunk of that total from PACs, including trade groups and unions. The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Shuster received $5,000 from the BNSF Rail PAC and $2,500 from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades PAC.

Here’s a list of the top fundraisers this quarter, and a complete list is available here.