- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Democrat Kamala Harris has raised $2.5 million since mid-January for her U.S. Senate run in California, giving her an early financial edge in the 2016 contest, her campaign announced Monday.

Competitive races are costly, and analysts predict Harris could need $30 million or more by Election Day next year. She is the only major Democrat in the race so far, although potential contenders include several members of Congress.

Harris banked “a lot of money, but it costs a lot of money to run statewide in California,” said Claremont McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney.

“By itself, it’s not enough to keep other candidates out of the race. But together with her other advantages, other potential candidates have to weigh their options carefully,” Pitney said.

Harris entered the race on Jan. 13, seeking the seat being vacated by Democrat Barbara Boxer.

Since that time, Harris has concentrated on raising money and rolling out endorsements to deter possible rivals. Meanwhile, as state attorney general, she can generate consistent headlines to grab public attention without spending campaign dollars.

The only established Republican in the race is two-term state Assemblyman Rocky Chavez. Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez, Adam Schiff and Xavier Becerra are considering Senate bids.

Harris raised $1.6 million in March alone, or an average of about $50,000 a day. After expenditures, she has about $2.2 million in the bank.

From January through March, nearly 5,000 contributions came in amounts of $100 or less, among about 6,500 donations overall.

Harris said in a statement that she is grateful for the support. “We are well on our way toward building a strong grassroots campaign that will reach every community of California,” she said.

The figures released by the campaign provide only a keyhole look at Harris’ financial operation. Federal election law requires campaigns to release names of donors, the amount of each contribution and specifics on spending. Those details will not be available until later this month.

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