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Feinstein Begins To Replenish Campaign Account

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Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBS / AP) — Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s re-election campaign reported Tuesday that she raised nearly $950,000 in the final three months of 2011 as she worked to overcome the disappearance of an estimated $4.6 million from her campaign coffers.

Feinstein and several other Democratic officeholders and political groups employed Kinde Durkee as treasurer before discovering last year that their campaign accounts had far less money than they thought. Durkee is facing a federal mail-fraud charge.

Feinstein, who is a heavy favorite to win her fourth full term in the Senate, quickly replenished her campaign, loaning it $5 million. In all, her campaign has about $6.6 million in the bank, mostly from the loan.

The projected losses for Feinstein are estimates at best. First California Bank, which administered the Durkee accounts, has told a state court that the money in hundreds of accounts had been mixed together and that it cannot say for certain how much each account should have in it.

Bill Carrick, an adviser to the campaign, said the lost money had done little to hamstring Feinstein’s campaign and might have helped increase donations during the last quarter.

“People are motivated to help because of that,” Carrick said.

Tuesday was the deadline for federal officeholders and candidates to report their year-end fundraising activity. The totals are a sign of a campaign’s viability and probably are more meaningful this year than they’ve been in the past because redistricting has resulted in so many competitive congressional races in California.

In the past, incumbents generally had little to fear come election time because they were running in safe districts. This year, the two parties have targeted about a dozen congressional districts that could turn from Republican to Democratic or the other way around.

One of those races features a rematch between Republican Rep. Dan Lungren and his Democratic challenger, Ami Bera. The two are running in the newly redrawn 7th Congressional District, which covers eastern Sacramento County.

Bera’s campaign reported that he raised about $256,000 in the latest quarter and has more than $918,000 in the bank. Lungren reported raising about $178,000 and has more than $521,000 in cash.

The fundraising totals also point to the challenges to some incumbents from redistricting.

Republican Rep. David Dreier raised barely more than $10,000 in the last quarter, which signals that he is not aggressively seeking re-election. Dreier has not announced his plans, but the district he has represented turned sharply Democratic in the once-a-decade redistricting process.

Some GOP officials have recommended that he consider challenging Feinstein in this year’s Senate race.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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