Other than polls and surveys, a good catalyst for leading political campaign races is fundraising.

California Secretary of State records show Coachella Valley Unified School District Board member Joey Acuña leads the Assembly District 36 race in terms of funds raised.

According to the records, just this year the Joey Acuña for Assembly 2024 committee has received $25,525 in contributions.

The records also show Acuña has spent $140,102.48 and reports an ending cash of $47,027.90.

The majority of funds raised by Acuña’s committee have come from unions and tribes, records indicate.

The Committee to Elect Eduardo Garcia for Assembly 2024 contributed $5,500 on Dec. 18 while Garcia’s predecessor and Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez contributed $5,500 as well on Dec. 28.

The report shows others contributing to Acuña’s campaign are former state Sen. Benjamín Hueso and former state Sen. Denise Moreno-Ducheny.

No donations from Imperial Valley were included in the report.

In a distant second place is Republican candidate for District 36 Jeffrey Gonzalez, who won the primary in 2018, but lost in the general election of that same year.

Gonzalez reported $4,599 in contributions and $5861.36 in expenditures.

Next is Westmorland Republican Kalin Morse, who has not reported any contributions in 2024 and expenditures of $1,243.69.

The Secretary of State has no additional reports although the field of candidates also includes Indio City Council member Waymond Fermon, El Centro City Council members Edgard Garcia and Tomas Oliva, and Central Union High School District Board member Eric Rodriguez.

In a brief phone interview, Edgard Garcia said he has not submitted his Form 460 report as the deadline is on Jan. 31.

Edgard Garcia said he has spent about $40,000 with an additional $100,000 in expenditures expected from his funds.

In an email, Rodriguez encouraged community members to become familiar with the tools provided by the secretary of state and take their time to review the candidate’s committee contributors and learn the names of the candidate’s primary and maximum donating contributors.

Rodriguez added his committee has not received any contributions from corporations, PACs, or any other special interest groups.

“Our community has been longing for change and authenticity in their state assemblyman for far too long,” Rodriguez wrote. “As the candidate for this position, I am committed to being the bridge for my underserved and underrepresented community.”

Rodriguez went on to say his grassroots campaign is all about authenticity and transparency in designing its materials, writing its statements, mounting its yard signs, and conducting its promotional activities.

“As your assemblyman, I will remain dedicated to serving the needs of our community without any outside influence or agenda,” Rodriguez wrote.

No other candidate returned calls or replied to emails of press time Friday.

Acuña unsuccessful campaigned for the Assembly in 2002 and 2000.

The winning candidate will replace Coachella Democrat Eduardo García next year.

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