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California: Lungren Challenger Visits Washington, D.C.

Elk Grove City Councilman Gary Davis, one of three Democrats vying for the right to take on Rep. Dan Lungren (R) next year, is in Washington, D.C., this week, meeting with Democratic leaders, party strategists and interest groups.

In an interview, Davis, 35, said he was moved to run last year after Lungren refused his request to help find federal funding for an $11 million dam improvement project in the district.

“This is a guy who could sit in any seat in any part of the country and not change his issues,— Davis said. “He has no connection to local issues.—

National Democrats are paying close attention to the 3rd district cycle after Lungren was held to 49 percent of the vote in his Sacramento-area district. President Barack Obama won the district, which previously had been considered safe Republican territory, by 1,600 votes last year.

But it is too early to tell whether any of the Democrats in the race will ultimately be seen as top-tier candidates. Through June 30, Davis, who began fundraising a month earlier and estimated he’d need about $350,000 for the Democratic primary, had $30,000 in the bank. Physician Amerish Bera (D) had $287,000 in cash on hand, and Bill Slaton (D), director of the Sacramento Municipal Water District, had $224,000 in the bank — $113,000 of which came from his own pocket.

Lungren, who spent more than $1.3 million on his 2008 re-election, had $322,000 in cash on hand at the end of June.

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