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Catching up on campaigns, while blurry-eyed from reading campaign finance reports...

TOO EARLY TO TELL -- The year-end finance reports for both state and federal candidates were due today, and because of the timing it's too soon to make any conclusions about who is faring how well.

Rep. Julia Brownley has by far the most money in the bank of any Ventura County-area candidate, with nearly $900,000 in her account. And, now running in the neighboring 25th District, her 2012 opponent Tony Strickland tops the field in that race, with more than $400,000 in the bank.

But Brownley has been raising money for two years and Strickland since April. All the other candidates became candidates in either late November (Jeff Gorell) or in December. Of them, Gorell had by far the most impressive start -- taking in about $131,000 in little more than a month.

There were a couple noteworthy items from Brownley's and Gorell's reports. For starters, there always seems to be one group you can count on to play on both sides of the field -- Indian gaming tribes. Sure enough, the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians, operators of the Chumash casino near Solvang, gave $3,000 to Brownley and $2,500 to Gorell.

Also, Gorell was quick to tap into some of Ventura County's most reliable Republican contributors, including travel agency magnate Ed Hogan ($5,200), insurance man Rick Chivaroli ($2,600), farmers Paul Leavens and Alan Teague ($1,000 each), car dealer Steve Thomas ($2,600) and Christian radio executive Ed Atsinger III ($1,000).

In the 44th District Assembly race, the situation is even more cloudy. Only two candidates got in the race before New Year's, and both of them not until early (Republican Sean Paroski) or late (Democrat Jacqui Irwin) December.The fundraising abilities of the entire field remain in question -- and won't really be known until the first pre-election reporting deadline of March 22.

MORE ENDORSEMENTS -- Ventura County Community College District Trustee Bernardo Perez (one of those fundraising unknowns in the Assembly race) has announced endorsements from Oxnard City Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez and Port Hueneme council members Ellis Green and Jon Sharkey. At least among elected officials, it's beginning to appear that the west end of that district is consolidating behind Perez.

Sen. Steve Knight of Palmdale announced he has received another endorsement out of the backyard of Republican opponent Tony Strickland in the 25th Congressional District race -- Simi Valley City Councilman Mike Judge.

In this case, Knight had an overwhelming advantage in locking up the endorsement: He and Judge were patrol officers together with the Los Angeles Police Department.

DINGED BY MR. PUNCTUALITY -- Assembly Speaker John Perez is unfailingly on time. I know that, and so I knew there could be an issue on Wednesday when, just as I was about to walk over to the Capitol for a 10 a.m. news conference with Perez, I received a callback on another story I was working on.

When I arrived three minutes late, the doors were closed and one of Perez' aides had to text her boss inside the room to get permission to let me in. As the time for asking questions neared the end, a reporter from the Sacramento Bee and I both began ours at the same time. Perez said he would take the one from the guy who arrived late -- but noted that Jeremy White was from Sacramento and I was from Ventura, and that perhaps Jeremy "had a shorter commute."

What I should have explained to the speaker was that I was delayed because I had taken a call from Mark Baldassare, CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, to discuss his new poll that was being publicly released that evening. One thing I asked Baldassare was why he thought the Legislature's approval rating had climbed to 45 percent.

Perhaps voters like punctuality?

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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at therdt@vcstar.com
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