Leach leads race for campaign cash in 13th

Posted: July 19, 2013

State Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County raised the most money in the second quarter among the four Democrats fighting to represent Pennsylvania's 13th District in the U.S. House.

Leach pulled in $357,590 between March 1 and June 30, according to the latest federal campaign finance reports. After expenses, his campaign fund had $277,263 on hand.

Marjorie Margolies, seeking to reclaim the seat she held for a term in the early 1990s, raised some political insiders' eyebrows by finishing last in the quarterly money sprint, with $185,345.

Margolies has extensive national contacts, former President Bill Clinton owes her for the 1993 budget vote that cost her seat but saved his economic program, and her son is married to Chelsea Clinton. She had only one month to raise cash after announcing her candidacy May 31, and her campaign said she did not ask the Clintons for help.

The 2014 Democratic primary is 10 months away, and the winner is considered a sure bet in the 13th, which covers Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia and is dominated by Democratic voters. The incumbent Democrat, U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, is running for governor.

Leach advisers took heart that his cash came from 942 individual donors, 61 percent of whom gave less than $200. They contend that they are building a broad base of people who can donate again and again without bumping up against the legal limits of $2,600 for an individual and $5,200 for a couple.

"These numbers are astounding and incredibly validating," said Leach, adding that he was basing his campaign on a "core set of progressive principals." He is a liberal voice in Harrisburg and a supporter of legalizing marijuana and gay marriage.

Ken Smukler, a senior adviser to Margolies, said her campaign raised at a rate of $40,000 a week, far above the competition. "If we sustain anything close to that rate, we'll be fine in this race," Smukler said. "We will know a lot more when every candidate has a full filing period to raise money."

Physician Valerie Arkoosh, active nationally in campaigning for the Affordable Care Act, raised $285,298 in the second quarter on top of the $218,000 she pulled in during the first three months of the year.

State Rep. Brendan Boyle of Northeast Philadelphia took in $252,000 in the second quarter, his first period raising cash for the race. He has broad support from organized labor, though union leaders can only give up to the federal limits, unlike the limitless donations allowed in state races.

Margolies did receive checks from Clinton-linked figures, including former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and confidant Vernon Jordan. Smukler said those donations were prompted by the candidate, not the former president. "Marjorie has made it clear this race was never predicated on the Clintons' involvement in fund-raising," he said.

Contact Thomas Fitzgerald at 215-854-2718 or tfitzgerald@phillynews.com, or follow @tomfitzgerald on Twitter. Read his blog, "The Big Tent," at www.inquirer.com/bigtent.

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