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California: ’12 Candidate Hernandez Raising Money Again for Something

John Hernandez, the California Democrat who lost in a competitive Central Valley district by 18 points, may be preparing for another bid for Congress.

Or maybe he’s just trying to retire some leftover debt.

Three local elected officials are hosting a fundraiser for Hernandez on March 14 in Fresno, Calif. According to an invitation to the event — which features a banner of Democratic presidential headshots — $30 “donations” will go toward a 2014 congressional exploratory committee, while suggested “contributions” of $500, $1,000 and $2,500 will go toward retiring the debt from Hernandez’s campaign last year.

Hernandez had $18,000 in cash on hand headed into the final month of the campaign before losing to now-Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. As of Dec. 11, Hernandez had $40,500 in debt owed to consultants and campaign aides, according to his post-general report filed to the Federal Election Commission.

Democrats view the 21st District as a missed opportunity in 2012 and are likely to target it again next year. For example, here’s one of Hernandez’s television spots that was criticized for its poor production quality:

Hernandez made it through the top-two primary only after a handful of recruits passed on the race. He topped fellow Democrat Blong Xiong by about 600 votes in the primary.

The party’s first recruit, state Sen. Michael Rubio, surprisingly dropped out of the race in December 2011 for family considerations. Rubio likely won’t be a future candidate — he resigned his legislative seat last week to take a job with Chevron.

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