The dollars are flowing into three Whittier-area state legislative Democratic primary races as nine candidates already have $1.8 million between them saved up for the June 6 election. It’s the 30th State Senate District race that may be turning heads. This is the race for the seat now held by termed-out state Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Norwalk. Assemblymen Rudy Bermudez, D-Norwalk, Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, and Marco Antonio Firebaugh, D-Whittier, have more than $1 million saved up so far, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office. “This is obviously a very expensive race,” said Caroline Heldman, associate professor of political science at Whittier College. “That has something to do with the contenders who are pretty well known,” Heldman said. Bermudez leads the candidates in that race with $515,588 as of Dec. 31. The reports were filed this week. While Calderon and Firebaugh have about half as much money in cash, they say they’re doing just fine. “From June to December, I outraised (Bermudez) 2-1,” Calderon said, referring to the $278,125 he raised in comparison to Bermudez’s $152,998. Firebaugh said he’s optimistic because he’s not that far behind. “They are both sitting incumbents who theoretically should be able to outraise me 2-1 and they didn’t,” he said. Firebaugh has about $261,253 in cash – Calderon has $286,166 – and raised $187,376 in the last six months. “If you look at my campaign, I’ve got no labor money to speak of and I have no (political action committee) money,” he said. “These are all sources of funding that will be available to me that I haven’t gotten yet.” In the other two assembly races, the candidates together have about $800,000 cash in hand. In the 56th Assembly District race, Artesia Councilman Tony Mendoza has $164,281 in cash. During the last six months, Artesia Councilwoman Sally Flowers raised nearly twice as much money as Mendoza and nearly four times as much as Norwalk Councilman Rick Ramirez. “I can’t possibly have as much money (as Mendoza) at this point,” Flowers said. “He was running more than a year ago and I started in August.” Mendoza, who only raised $42,588 in contrast to Flowers’ $83,496 during the last six months, said he was held back by the special election. The special election took a lot of his time and when it was over, donors didn’t have much left over to give, Mendoza said. Ramirez, who didn’t return two phone calls, raised $24,035 and paid back $20,000 of a $50,000 loan he made to himself. “Candidates who pay themselves back early on are not confident they’re going to win,” Heldman said. In the 58th Assembly District, former state Sen. Charles Calderon, D-Whittier, (brother of Ron) has raised twice as much as Pico Rivera Councilman David Armenta and Whittier Councilman Owen Newcomer. Armenta and Newcomer each have loaned their campaigns about $100,000 of their own money. Newcomer said he believes that his walking campaign – he’s gone to 16,000 homes so far – makes up for the lack of money. “There’s an in-kind value to precinct walking,” Newcomer said. “I don’t have to spend as much money.” Calderon said walking helps, but you still need money. “I walked almost the same district when I was first elected to the Assembly (in 1982), but if I didn’t have a mail program, I wouldn’t have been elected.” [email protected] (562)698-0955, Ext. 3022 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!