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Gray hits $1M for CA-13 campaign
Adam Gray campaign
Former Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced), pictured center, has raised more than $1 million during the first quarter of 2024 in his bid to represent California’s 13 congressional district (Photo contributed).

Former Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced), who is running to unseat Rep. John Duarte (R-Hughson) in the 13th congressional district, raised more than $1 million during the first quarter of 2024, according to his campaign.

For the period beginning Jan. 1 and ending March 31, Gray’s campaign raised $1,020,000, and will have more than $1 million on hand when it officially reports the numbers to the Federal Elections Commission by the April 20 deadline.

Duarte, a political neophyte back in 2022, defeated the five-term Assemblymember by a scant 564 votes in what turned out to be the second-closest House race in the country.

For months, political pundits have categorized the rematch as a toss-up, and are forecasting a down-to-the-wire finish on Nov. 5. That means the size of the candidates’ bank accounts will be nearly as important as their stance on the issues.

“It’s a record-breaking number for this district,” said Gray campaign manager Ben Rodriguez. “Since its creation, nobody has raised a million in a quarter; so we’re pretty proud of that.

“This race will be expensive, just as we saw last cycle, and having the resources to talk to voters about Adam’s track record is a big focus for us.”

The 13th district — which includes all of Merced County and parts of Stanislaus, Madera, Fresno and San Joaquin counties — came into existence following the 2020 election cycle. Had it existed during the 2020 general election, it would’ve tilted for President Biden by 11 percentage points. 

In the March 5 primary, Duarte won with just about 55 percent of the vote, which included a near 2,200-vote margin in Merced County, Gray’s home turf. However, turnout was low and neither candidate put much effort in the primary since, as the only two candidates, both were guaranteed a spot in November’s general election.

“We know this is going to be an ultra-competitive race,” said Rodriguez. “We know it, and the Republicans know it. Our resources will allow us to have boots on the ground in all five counties right up until November.”

Currently, the GOP has a one-seat majority in the House, making this race even more important in the national scope.

According to a recent report in Politico, former Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) also broke the million-dollar plateau this quarter, hauling in $1.3 million and leaving him with about $750,000 on hand. Salas is running to unseat Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) for the 22nd congressional district seat. In 2022, Valadao defeated Salas with 51.5 percent of the vote, a difference of just 3,132 votes out of nearly 103,00 votes cast.

Like the Gray-Duarte rematch, the Salas-Valadao rematch is considered a toss-up by most pundits, with others giving a slight edge to the incumbent.

Duarte’s campaign did not respond to the Journal's request for first-quarter fundraising information. The campaign is not required to do so until April 20.