- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - California Attorney General Kamala Harris is gradually padding her fundraising edge in the state’s U.S. Senate race.

According to federal records and her campaign Wednesday, the Democrat collected about $1.9 million in two fundraising committees. Her main campaign account pulled in the bulk of the cash, about $1.5 million in contributions from October through December.

After expenses, Harris ended 2015 with about $4 million in the bank, in advance of the state’s June primary. That gave her a roughly 2-1 advantage in available dollars over her chief rival, fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman from Orange County.

Sanchez reported ending the year with $2.1 million in the bank, after pulling in $388,000 in donations in the final three months of 2015. She also collected $475,000 for her Senate run by selling a home she used as her campaign headquarters. She’s now leasing office space.

Harris’ edge in cash on hand, about $1.8 million, nosed up slightly since September, when she had a $1.7-million margin over Sanchez.

Harris collected contributions from supporters at a significantly faster rate than Sanchez, but she also spent it more quickly. Harris reported operating expenses of $1.2 million in her main account, compared to $302,000 for Sanchez.

Democrats are expected to easily hold the seat now occupied by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. The party holds every statewide office and controls both chambers of the Legislature.

Three Republicans in the Senate contest, state Assemblyman Rocky Chavez of Oceanside and former state GOP chairmen Duf Sundheim and Tom Del Beccaro, have trailed far back in the money race.

Sundheim closed the year with $70,000 in the bank, with $14,000 in debts. Chavez closed his books for 2015 with $369 on hand and nearly $43,000 in debts.

Del Beccaro had about $40,000 on hand.

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