Of all the good things that have happened to Dianne Feinstein recently, one of the best has been the graciousness of the man she defeated June 5 for the California Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Attorney General John Van de Kamp.
Van de Kamp appeared with Feinstein at back-to-back-to-back fund-raisers in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and San Francisco last week to help her rake in nearly $1 million from Californians who had supported him in the primary.
Feinstein had been eager to tap into Van de Kamp's funding base before June 30 because, by a quirk of state law, donors can give a maximum of $1,000 per candidate per fiscal year.
She playfully warned her new contributors: "You will get to do this all over again once the new fiscal year begins" on July 1.
Feinstein's campaign has set a fund-raising target of $10 million to $12 million for the fall contest against Sen. Pete Wilson (R). She is counting on about $5 million from her own past supporters, $4 million from Van de Kamp's base and as
much as $3 million from out-of-state sources.
"I have never seen the state party so united," said Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, a financier who contributed heavily to her primary campaign. "I really think the money will be there."
Feinstein and other party leaders lavishly praised Van de Kamp at the fund-raisers, and he responded in kind. "I feel like the auto mechanic who got run over by a Corvette," said the man who will leave office at the end of this year after 30 years in public service. "Someone tells him his leg has been broken. He gets up, dusts himself off, smiles and says, 'Yeah, but did you see that car?' "