Money pours into race to replace Congressman Darrell Issa

Money is pouring into the race to replace the House seat held for nearly 20 years by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. 

New campaign filings show three Democrats have now raised more than $1 million, and another is close behind with $805,000.

The forms reflect money raised in the quarter ending Dec. 31, which was before Issa announced he would not seek re-election. Since then, five Republicans have said they would run for the seat, but it's too early to see what they've raised.

On the Democrat side, Sara Jacobs, who worked at the State Department under the Obama Administration, has raised the most money - $1.4 million. Jacobs, granddaughter of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, also contributed $1 million of her own cash.

Mike Levin, an attorney, is second with $1.2 million, with $10,000 of his own money; Paul Kerr, a real-estate investor, raised $1.03 million, including a $712,000 self-contribution, and Col. Doug Applegate, who nearly beat Issa in 2016, raised $805,259 with no personal contributions.

As the Democrats continue to fundraise, concerns are growing among groups trying to turn the 49th District House seat from red to blue.

It's because there are now five Democrats running against five Republicans. But only two people get through the June primary to the November run-off, and party doesn't matter.

"You could still have something happen where four Democrats split the vote, and two Republicans get through to the November election because of this electoral fragmentation," said Thad Kousser, political scientist at UC San Diego. 

A group called Flip the 49th, which is trying to get a Democrat elected, will be doing scientific polling, and plans to hold a debate in early March with the candidates.

Ellen Montanari, who has organized rallies outside Issa's office, says she hopes the Democratic candidates would be willing to put their party over their ambitions.

"I'm really hoping that the Democrats who are candidates in this race take a good, hard look at what's best for our district," she said.

Issa had raised about $340,000 for the campaign before dropping out in January. 

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