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Anderson Drops Out of Supervisor Race, Dodging Campaign Finance Restrictions

This story has been updated.

State Sen. Joel Anderson is dropping his bid to unseat fellow Republican Dianne Jacob for county supervisor.

Anderson told the Lincoln Club’s political action committee Friday night he won’t try to keep Jacob from her seventh term representing East County. He’ll instead run for the seat in 2020, once Jacob is termed out, he said at the meeting.

His aborted challenge looks to have come with an added bonus: He found a way to skirt a major campaign finance restriction in the race four years from now. When he turns his attention to the 2020 race, he’ll have an advantage that isn’t open to any other candidate.

The County’s Republican Party last year dumped $200,000 into Anderson’s supervisor run. And campaign finance rules allow candidates [1] to transfer money between accounts bearing their name.

That’s true even though the County Board of Supervisors voted last year [2] to impose a $25,000 limitation on donations from political parties to supervisor campaigns. The Republican Party made its donation to Anderson just a day before [3] that limitation took effect.

That means Anderson will be able to put the party’s entire $200,000 donation into his 2020 race. It’s a donation eight times larger than county parties will be permitted to make to any other 2020 candidate – a restriction that at that point will have been in place for five years.

He has, in essence, figured out how to make the restriction disappear for him, even while it’ll still be in place for anyone he runs against in four years.

Anderson’s campaign confirmed Friday night that he was dropping out of the race and would instead run in 2020.