Political notebook: Xiong must pay off sizable campaign debt from race for Congress
Created on Monday, 23 July 2012 18:00
The Fresno Bee
It was a tough congressional campaign for Fresno City Council Member Blong Xiong. It's likely going to be even tougher now that the campaign is over.
Xiong is facing a sizable campaign debt.
When he jumped into the race for the newly created 21st Congressional District -- which covers all of Kings County and parts of Kern, Tulare and rural western Fresno counties -- Xiong looked to be the Democratic Party's golden boy in the race.
He tapped into the Hmong community, not just locally but in Minnesota. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Xiong was in an "Emerging Race" -- a precursor to possible financial support from the party.
Xiong quickly raised more than $333,000.
But then he lost, finishing third in the top two primary. Finishing ahead of Xiong was John Hernandez, a fellow Democrat with a fraction of both the name identification and the financial resources, as well as Hanford Republican David Valadao.
Now comes the cruelest cut of all.
Even though Xiong raised a ton of money, he spent even more -- more than $35,000 more, according to his latest campaign finance report.
Of that, $12,000 is money Xiong loaned to his campaign. The remaining $23,000-plus is money he owes to others.
"I'm not worried about myself," Xiong said of what he loaned his own campaign. "I'm worried about what I owe the others."
He plans to hold a "retire the debt" fundraiser in the next month or two, but Xiong certainly knows political reality: "It's always tougher when you lose, but we'll see what happens."
On the good side, Xiong still holds his Fresno City Council seat, so he has some political juice to entice donors.