Campaign Cash Reports Reveal Status of City & County Primary Races

by on May 1, 2018 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Lorie Zapf Has Raised More Campaign Money Than Any Other City Council Candidate in All the Races

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Today we’ll walk through the latest financial reports for San Diego City and County races. Republicans have rounded up large amounts of cash, hoping to protect their incumbents on the City Council. Democrats are hoping to pick up some spots in County contests.

Things are about to get nasty with the emergence of two Independent Expenditure outfits representative of a split in organized labor which itself is illustrative of divisions in what some call the “professional left.”

Reports filed with the San Diego City Clerk and the County Registrar of Voters reveal how candidates are faring with campaign contributions. Today’s report includes the grand total of monies raised for 2017 and 2018 through April 21.

District 2 incumbent Lorie Zapf, a Republican in a Democratic-leaning area, has raised the most ($428,896) overall of any single City Council candidate and spent a paltry $46,698 since the first of the year. Her incumbency all but assures her one of the top two positions in the primary election.

Historically higher turnout for the November general election is her concern. Losing this seat would give Democrats a veto-proof majority on the City Council. And her supporters are taking no chances, another $300,000 in non-candidate controlled funding, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Club is available.

Among Zapf’s challengers in District 2, Dr. Jen Campbell leads the pack in total fundraising ($85,529) over Bryan Pease ($48,450) and Jordan Beane ($38,037).

Myrtle Cole, the Democratic in District 4 topped campaign fundraising in her contest ($123,553), followed by Monica Montgomery ($33,473), and Neal Arthur ($12,400).

In District 6, Republican incumbent Chris Cate has raised $380,320, with an Independent Expenditure group funded by the same people as Zapf’s sitting on another $300,000. Democrat Tommy Hough has raised $21,727.

District 8 is where this gets fun. There is no Republican running, and three strong Democratic candidates are vying to replace termed-out Councilman David Alvarez. D8 staffer Vivian Moreno, who’s running with Alvarez’s blessing leads ($120,486) followed by San Ysidro’s Antonio Martinez ( $80,531) and border activist Christian Ramirez ($48,730). If there’s one race where cash isn’t as important as community ties, this is it.

You’ll find more analysis in the city contests section of our Progressive Voter Guide, scheduled for publication on Thursday, May 3.

The action in the County Supervisors primary is in District 4. Incumbent Republican Ron Roberts is termed out, and the party’s pick to replace him is ex-DA Bonnie Dumanis ($395,016). Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher ($439,787) has the backing of the Democratic party establishment-types, including most of organized labor.

Community activist Omar Passons ($270,849) has built a strong grassroots campaign with small business support. Ex-Deputy Fire Chief Ken Malbrough ($22,235) has run a low key campaign, but he’s still a presence at debates and forums.

Finally, you might think former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña ($31,577) is also struggling, but you’d be wrong, even though she ended the reporting period with less than an $800 balance.

Saldaña’s campaign will benefit from $50,000 with of non-candidate controlled Independent Expenditure cash from Laborer’s International Union of North America Local 89 for the “Elect Lori Saldaña for Supervisor 2018, Sponsored by San Diego Working Families Council.”

The Mickey Kasparian-led Working Families Council (WFC), left the local Central Labor Council under a cloud as it was put into trusteeship by the national AFL-CIO. Multiple lawsuits against Kasparian alleging discrimination and sexual harassment were settled earlier this year, and the terms are covered by a non-disclosure agreement. A group of activists organized in support of the women who brought suit continues to call for Kasparian’s ouster as president of UFCW Local 35.

Not-so-coincidentally, the United Domestic Workers kicked in $20,000 for an Independent Expenditure committee calling itself “San Diegans Opposed to Hypocrisy & Lori Saldaña for Supervisor 2018.”

What this boils down to is a proxy fight for the ages. It’s labor vs labor; party insiders vs (some) party outsiders; all of who claim to be the most progressive.

The IE group supporting Saldaña will almost certainly make an effort to paint Nathan Fletcher as the ex-Republican Who Beats Baby Seals and Kittens on Days When He’s Not Shooting His Non-Union Made AK47.

The IE group opposing Saldaña will undoubtedly capitalize on her feuds with the Democratic party over the years, with her support/non-support of former Mayor Grabby-Grabby playing a role.

Republican Bonnie Dumanis and her pals at the Lincoln Club will be springing for popcorn. The GOP strategy from day one has been to damage the brand of whoever is perceived as the front-runner.

In the North County contest for District 5 to replace (thankfully) termed out Bill Horn, Republicans Jim Desmond (San Marcos Mayor) and Jerry Kern (Oceanside Councilman) lead in total fundraising with $240.544 and $130,017,

Democrats Jacqueline Arsivaud ($29,656) and Michelle Gomez ($5,040) have to be hoping the Blue Wave cresting over Darrell Issa’s old district drives enough turnout to get them past June 5.

In all county contests, unless a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the primary, the top-two contenders will face each other in the November general election.

The one instance of an incumbent raising less money than his challenger comes with the race for County Assessor/Clerk/Recorder. Challenger Matt Strabone ($106,683) has run a strong campaign. Incumbent Ernest Dronenberg ($86,744) keeps finding his name in the daily paper for assorted transgressions that can’t be helping his cause.

County Sheriff Bill Gore ($279,494) has tapped the benefits of incumbency and simply been a real sh*t about underling Commander Dave Myers ($162,683) having the nerve to talk about reforms. I mean, what’s not to like about a legacy of jail deaths, sexual harassment, and settled lawsuits if you’re a Republican law and order type?

I guess that’s why Gore is skipping debates.

In the race for County District Attorney, appointed interim Summer Stephan ($469,801) is having a hard time responding to the aggressive campaigning of Public Defender Geneviéve Jones-Wright ($200,175). The challenger has quite frankly mopped the floor with her opponent in several debates.

Incumbency with county law enforcement-related positions does have it’s advantages, however. Both offices head up departments with “employee organizations” that collect dues to re-elect their boss. And, hey, if a few rules get bent along the way, who’s going to complain?

Now, I’ll bet you can’t guess who paid for those illegally placed “Gore for Sheriff” and “Stephan for DA” signs all over the county? It must be nice.

There is some outside money coming in on the Jones-Wright side of the DA’s contest. Real Justice PAC has been paying for some phone-banking, according to records on file with the Registrar of Voters and a locally financed group, Vote June 5.Org has raised a few thousand dollars and is also supporting candidates Myers and Strabone.

The pro-status quo Twitter account @SDCrimJustice has been doing it’s bit on behalf of Summer Stephan, visiting the LinkedIn pages of her opponent’s supporters and sharing their finds, along with regularly posting photos of billionaire George Soros, saying his money (I hope) is coming to town. They really shouldn’t do their research from the DA’s office while on the taxpayer’s dime, though. (Linked-in lets members know who’s been visiting their pages.)


You’ll find more analysis in the county contests section of our Progressive Voter Guide, scheduled for publication on Wednesday, May 2.

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