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Your guide to how much money each candidate has to work with in the major city and county races.
Fundraising figures for the first half of the year became public Wednesday.
Our phones were buzzing with political consultants and their proxies making sure we saw just how good their candidate did – or just how bad their opponent’s numbers looked.
And it was then we realized maybe for the first time just how unique the 2020 election cycle is. Almost all the big local races are for open seats. The one major local race with an incumbent – County Supervisor District 3 – is still up for grabs.
All the candidates want to talk. All of them are looking for any edge they can get. Nobody has a huge chip stack bullying others at the political poker table.
Let’s get into it.
With much help from political consultant Mason Herron of Edgewater Strategies, we wanted to visualize how all the major city and county races look. All the graphs we have included show both total contributions over the last reporting period and cash on hand minus debt. That’s the closest number you can get to just how many resources a candidate has to invest.
Assemblyman Todd Gloria has cornered the market on major Democratic endorsements against his rival, Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who’s also a Democrat. But Bry could have upended the narrative by significantly outperforming Gloria.
That did not happen. Gloria raised more money than Bry, and he spent less than her. He now has $427,299 on hand – counting debt – compared with Bry’s $299,935. So in addition to Gloria’s advantages in endorsements, institutional support and name ID, you can now add money.
That’s not all. There’s already a PAC in place supporting Gloria that has another $187,408 in the bank.
Terra Lawson-Remer was one candidate who did not have fundraising at the top of her mind Wednesday.
The Democrat running for county supervisor had a baby Tuesday.
She announced that, given that she had just created a new human, she may need a few weeks off of the campaign trail. But she took a few minutes to talk to us.
Lawson-Remer did not raise as much money as incumbent Republican Kristin Gaspar, but she does have more money on hand than Gaspar and Olga Diaz, the Escondido city councilwoman who is Lawson-Remer’s main target.
Both assume Gaspar will make it through the primary. So, for now, the fight is between them. Lawson-Remer speaks with great confidence about why she’s the better choice for Democrats than Diaz.
“I have a vast breadth and depth of experience and she has a very local, limited range of experience, which I respect, but I think we have much bigger challenges,” Lawson-Remer said.
Diaz didn’t want to get into a squabble.
“I wish everybody well in this race. I don’t want to have a negative tone. I’ll do my own work to be the most viable candidate,” she said.
Lawson-Remer does have another thing going for her, though: Two unions – Laborers International Union of North America Local 89 and Service Employees International, Local 221 – have put money into a PAC supporting Lawson-Remer. The group has $128,000, roughly doubling her campaign potency. SEIU 221 is the largest union of employees of the county of San Diego. They supported Nathan Fletcher, who supports Diaz in this race. As does his wife, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins supports Lawson-Remer.
So there’s a lot of talk about how this is a proxy war of rival Dem alliances. Maybe.
The PAC money is no joke. Lawson-Remer said she’s thrilled to have the support of the PAC and told us she heard it was on track to raise $500,000.
Another contributor to it? Rep. Juan Vargas, who gave $5,000. Lawson-Remer worked for Vargas and her father, local political consultant Larry Remer, served Vargas for many years.
“SEIU and laborers have every right to support their candidate of choice,” Diaz said. She pointed out she had gotten the endorsement of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 569, and all the Democratic clubs that have weighed in on the race so far.
District 3 is getting a lot of attention as this contest between Dems wanting to face Gaspar heats up. Over in District 1, Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos has the most resources for now. State Sen. Ben Hueso and Nora Vargas, an executive with Planned Parenthood, are not close for now.
Poway Mayor Steve Vaus has a number of big endorsements in the race for county supervisor in East County, including the outgoing Republican, Dianne Jacob.
But former state Sen. Joel Anderson has money to spend, much of it leftover from a hefty contribution the Republican Party gave him several years ago when he threatened, and then declined, to challenge Jacob. (It’s a long story.)
Democrat Kenya Taylor raised more than $12,000 and has more than $5,000 cash on hand after subtracting debts.
This one is just wide open.
The District 5 Council seat is the most Republican district in San Diego. Yet a Democrat has a big financial lead over the field.
Marni von Wilpert, a deputy city attorney, raised $56,855 in the first half of the year and spent very little.
One the other side: Patrick Batten, a lobbyist with Southwest Strategies, raised $30,713 so far – and spent 80 percent of it. He now has just $6,000 on hand, after accounting for debt.
Batten’s poor results had people talking. He said he was just getting started. He announced his candidacy, he said, only after T.J. Zane decided not to run and so he had very little time to put together a team.
“I have been raising money in this race for about two months before the reports were released. We continue to build support and momentum. I am proud of the endorsements and financial commitments that we have collected and there is much more to come,” he said in a written message.
There’s another Republican running for the seat, Joe Leventhal, who could be a contender, but who is not allowed to raise any money until Sept. 10, when he will have been off of the city’s Ethics Commission for a full year. He is allowed to line up events and plans for when his window opens and his team claims it’s on it.
A mea culpa: We gave you a preview last week of how things were shaping up in the City Council’s open District 7 seat, but we neglected to include one candidate, Monty McIntyre. And McIntyre put up a solid number, raising some $55,000, good for second among the four Democrats running.
Anyway, the buzz about Noli Zosa’s fundraising was real.
Again, thank you to Mason Herron for compiling all the fundraising data in one spot. He’s very smart and funny. He has good baseball takes, too. Unless you think it looks bad for him that we compliment him. In which case, he sucks. Also thanks to Megan Wood, from our own staff, who did nice graphs of the data. Megan’s great! She also did this video of the Gomez interview. If you have any message for us, email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: The graphs for Joel Anderson and David Greco have been updated to reflect accurate numbers.