FULLERTON – Democratic state Senate candidate Sukhee Kang reported today that he has raised more than half a million dollars in his race for Senate District 29 against Republican Assemblymember Ling Ling Chang.
So far, Kang has raised $505,000 since he announced on April 22, 2015, and has more than $300,000 cash on hand. In the period January 1-April 23, Kang actually outraised Chang in cash contributions, $142,000 to Chang’s $114,000. Nearly one-third of Chang’s contributions were non-monetary, mostly in-kind support from the Orange County Republican Party.
In the first reporting period after he announced, ending June 30, 2015, Kang outraised Chang by nearly 2-to-1. As of December 31, Kang had raised almost an equal amount in all of 2015 as Chang, but Chang bolstered her numbers by loaning her own campaign $100,000, the same gambit she used in her 2014 Assembly race to make her fundraising look more impressive than it was.
Kang’s chief strategist, veteran Democratic consultant Garry South, said it is highly unusual for a candidate who currently holds no public office to outraise a sitting legislator in cash contributions, who can use their office and votes on thousands of bills to gain contributions just by the advantage of incumbency. Chang announced she was running for the Senate in May of last year – just six months after being elected to the Assembly for the first time, and that has rubbed many in the district the wrong way.
“Our strong fundraising report as of April 23, and Chang’s relatively weak numbers for an incumbent, is another indication of Sukhee Kang’s viability, good standing and hard work as the Democratic Party-endorsed candidate in this Republican-held Senate seat,” South said. “In addition to our many high-powered organizational endorsements, including the California Labor Federation, the California Teachers Association and the California Nurses Association, the Kang campaign has hit all the markers that are expected in a very competitive campaign for the state Senate.”
South noted that much of the money Chang did raise came from political action committees, corporations and law firms – most of them Sacramento-based special interests, who feel compelled to donate to incumbents while the Legislature is in session. He also pointed out that two sitting Republican senators, Janet Nguyen and Joel Anderson, loaned money to Chang’s campaign, instead of donating outright. Another sitting fellow Republican Assemblymember also loaned Chang money in the period. “That’s bizarre, that they are just loaning her money, and hardly a ringing endorsement of Ling Ling Chang from the very sitting GOP senators she hopes to join,” South remarked.
In the Senate race, Kang has won overwhelming support from fellow Democrats, including Sen. Kevin de León, the current president pro tempore and Democratic leader of the Senate, Sen. Bill Monning, Senate majority leader, and Sen. Connie Leyva, chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. In addition, four past presidents pro tem of the Senate have come out in support of Kang’s candidacy, as has the Asian and Pacific American Legislative Caucus and dozens of other state legislators and local officials throughout Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
Kang was a two-term city councilmember in Irvine, as well as a two-term mayor of the city, reelected overwhelmingly in 2010 with more than 64 percent of the vote. He and his wife Joanne, also a South Korean native who immigrated to the U.S. with him in 1977, have been residents of Orange County for 39 years and now live in Fullerton.
Kang has been recognized numerous times for his outstanding public service and community leadership, including receiving the American Diabetes Association’s “Orange County Father of the Year Award” in 2012, the Carnegie Corporation’s “Pride of America” award in 2010, and the International Leadership Foundation’s “Public Servant of the Year” award in 2010. The Irvine Chamber of Commerce also recognized Kang in 2010 as “Business Leader of the Year.”
A veteran, Kang served in the South Korean Army, then graduated from the prestigious Korea University with a degree in agricultural economics, and in 2011 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Dongseo University in Busan, Korea. He also has served a special advisor to the chancellor of UC Irvine, and as an adjunct professor and Chancellor Fellow at Chapman University.
The Kang children, Alan, 35, and Angie, 33, attended public schools in Anaheim, where the Kang family lived for 10 years. Alan, a graduate of UC San Diego and USC’s Marshall School of Business, is a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Angie, a graduate of Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall), is vice president of business and legal affairs at Hulu.
Full list of Sukhee Kang’s endorsements here: http://www.kangforsenate.com/endorsements