Bob Rush, right, addresses a question during a Feet to the Fire forum in Costa Mesa in April. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / April 5, 2012)

"I viewed the race in this 74th Assembly District as primarily against Daigle in the first stage and Mansoor in the second stage," he said. "I'm not in here as a spoiler. I came in to spoil the dreams of both Daigle and Mansoor."

He added that he sees Daigle as having "a significant amount of professional and personal baggage," and that Daigle was the weaker of his two opponents.

Rush said he's still trying to get out to venues and garner support, but without much emphasis on signage and precinct-walking.

On Oct. 17, and Oct. 16 news release said, local philanthropist James "Walkie" Ray held a fundraiser for Rush at Newport's Pacific Club.

Ray said he was approached by Freeman, with whom he'd worked in the past, about holding the event.

He said he hadn't met Rush before the fundraiser, but as a "right-leaning Democrat," Ray said he's happy to "support Democrats who are a decent alternative."

Ray said he had to leave part of the way through the event for another engagement, but he understood just under a dozen people turned out. Freeman said amounts raised were "under $10,000," however, the event was also a "friend-raiser."

Part of the campaign's strategy in upcoming weeks, he said, involves meeting privately with big-ticket donors and sending a mailer out to at least 43,000 (depending on fundraising success) households "that we think are swing voters."

Rush said he's also reached out to Mansoor to hold head-to-head debates since the primary, but Mansoor hasn't accepted.

Rush added that many local groups that might stage debates "got so revved up" for the primary, that they've felt there's no new ground to cover.

Mansoor said he may have received Rush's invitations, but that he's had scheduling conflicts.

"You can only go so far," Rush said at the Huntington Beach reception. "We can't say it's the 'Bob Rush' venue."

"At this point, it's getting the message out."

Twitter: @jillcowan