A Republican law student from Lodi raised more money than Democratic incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney in this year's third quarter, putting him among the nation's top-fundraising GOP challengers, according to campaign finance reports.

A Republican supervisor from Colusa County outraised Democratic U.S. Rep. John Garamendi; both McNerney and Garamendi had less money in the bank than their challengers as of Sept. 30.

But while a Democratic challenger raised more than Rep. Pete Stark, but he still only has about an eighth as much cash on hand.

In the 9th Congressional District, incumbent McNerney, D-Pleasanton — whom the national GOP once again is targeting as vulnerable — raised $216,142 and spent $96,177 in the third quarter, leaving him with $613,711 cash on hand and $8,025 in debt as of Sept. 30.

He was outperformed by Republican challenger Ricky Gill, a UC Berkeley Boalt Hall Law School student from Lodi, who raised $309,472 — including $57,924 from his own pocket — and spent $85,561.

Gill had $647,878 cash on hand and no debt as of Sept. 30, putting the 24-year-old in the top money echelon of GOP challengers nationwide.

Gill seems to be delivering on the promise implied when the National Republican Congressional Committee bestowed its "Young Gun" status upon him in August. But Larry Gerston, a San Jose State University political science professor, said it's too early to tell whether Gill will end up as a bullet or a blank.


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"Sometimes someone gets off to a very fast start and that's where it ends," he said. "The question is, can this guy sustain this level of fundraising through the whole campaign? If he can, he may be formidable."

McNerney spokeswoman Lauren Smith said Monday the campaign is "not concerned," as it's receiving contributions from a many small-amount donors.

"Congressman McNerney has a very strong track record of having broad bipartisan support from folks across his district, and we have every confidence we'll have the resources we need at every step of the way to win the race," she said. But McNerney and other incumbents without tremendous partisan voter-registration advantages should be concerned, Gerston said -- not only are some of them new to much of their newly drawn districts, but Congress' popularity is at an all-time low.

"Clearly with the national mood being what it is, incumbents have to think twice about making assumptions. There's the opportunity for upsets you would not normally expect."

Those same factors could be important in the 3rd District, where Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, raised $91,972 and spent $61,399 in the third quarter, leaving him with $112,771 cash on hand and $15,776 in debt as of Sept. 30.

Republican candidate Kim Dolbow Vann, a Colusa County supervisor, raised $125,149 and spent $500, leaving her with $124,649 and no debt as of Sept. 30.

Also in that district, Republican candidate Charles Schaupp, a retired Marine officer from Esparto, raised no money this quarter but put up $10,000 of his own money and spent $3,639, leaving him with $6,361 cash on hand and $10,329 in debt.

In the 15th District, incumbent Stark, D-Fremont, raised $11,120 and spent $48,537 in the third quarter, with $555,460 cash on hand and no debt as of Sept. 30.

Democratic challenger Eric Swalwell, a Dublin city councilman and Alameda County prosecutor, raised $74,709 and spent $5,183, finishing the quarter with $69,526 cash on hand and no debt. Another Democrat, state Sen. Ellen Corbett of San Leandro, said she raised and spent $90 this quarter, but she — like Democrat Ro Khanna, who didn't report any fundraising this quarter — says she's not running until 2014.

In the 19th District, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, raised $109,632 and spent $78,478 in the third quarter, with $479,394 cash on hand and no debt as of Sept. 30. State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who is term-limited out of the Legislature next year but isn't likely to seek a House seat this year, nevertheless reported raising $2,000 and spending $8,811 in the third quarter, leaving him with $411,218 cash on hand and no debt as of Sept. 30.

In the 12th District, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, raised $233,782 and spent $282,493 — including a $150,000 contribution to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and contributions of $2,000 each to House Democratic candidates from coast to coast — in the third quarter, finishing with $298,985 cash on hand and no debt as of Sept. 30. Democrat Summer Shields, a Lyndon LaRouche follower who ran a write-in campaign against Pelosi in 2010, reported raising $6,411 and spending $7,217, finishing the quarter with $169 cash on hand and no debt.

No fundraising reports were filed by any potential challengers to Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; George Miller, D-Martinez; Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; or Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

Read the Political Blotter at IBAbuzz.com/politics. Follow Josh Richman at Twitter.com/josh_richman.