If financial statements are any indication of how well candidates are faring against each other, some political races could be very close in the June 8 primary elections.
According to campaign financial disclosures filed earlier this month, Congresswoman Lois Capps stands head and shoulders above two Republican challengers for the 23rd District House seat she’s held for 12 years.
However, the difference in funding for the two top candidates in the State Assembly race is rapidly closing. Outgoing county supervisor Katcho Achadjian made significant gains on fellow Republican Etta Waterfield in the second half of the year.
So far, the race to replace controversial Sheriff-Coroner Patrick Hedges is less of a nail-biter. Candidate Ian Parkinson holds a substantial financial advantage over former county supervisor Jerry Lenthall and the five other candidates who filed disclosures.
And, of course, the bid for Achadjian’s soon-to-be-vacated Fourth District seat on the county board of supervisors is turning into a three-way battle funded by south-county ranchers, local businesses, and members of the current political establishment, with Arroyo Grande City Councilman Jim Guthrie raising more than $20,000 more this year than Mike Zimmerman and roughly $15,000 more than Paul Teixeira.
Candidates filed financial statements with the County Clerk-Recorder in early February. The nomination period is open through March 12.
Assembly: Waterfield vs. Achadjian
Hoping to fill the shoes of Sam Blakeslee, who will lose his Assembly seat because of term limits, is former Santa Maria planning commissioner Etta Waterfield, who gathered a total of $194,652 in 2009, the most of all candidates for the seat. However, Waterfield’s fundraising has slowed a bit since June, and includes a $100,000 loan.
Picking up the slack, Achadjian began closing in during the second half of the year, raising $89,397 compared with Waterfield’s $33,561, bringing him to a total of $167,784. Since July, Achadjian, an Arroyo Grande business owner, has received 175 donations, the majority of which are from San Luis Obispo County.
According to filings, his campaign accepted $1,000 from SLO Cattlemen’s PAC, $615 from former Supervisor Harry Ovitt, $250 from Farm Bureau Director Tom Ikeda, $250 from Hartzell Horizontal Drilling, $150 from Cal Poly Dean Dave Christy, and $125 from SLO County Judge Jac Crawford.
Waterfield, the daughter-in-law of actress Jane Russell, received 70 donations since July, including $7,800 from Russell, $2,000 from the Santa Ynez Board of Mission Indians, and $1,000 from the California Independent Petroleum Association.
San Luis Obispo financial planner Matt Kokkonen raised $180,862, $145,000 of which was a loan to himself. He has received 13 other donations. Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong raised $1,450 with 6 donations.
The only Democrat in the race is Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias, who has raised $29,262 since July, bringing her campaign total to $50,256. Zacarias is surpassed in number of donations only by Achadjian, however. She received 150 donations, including $135 from Coastal Commissioner Sarah Christie, and $100 from both SLO attorney Jeffrey Stein and former County Supervisor Shirley Bianchi.
In the bid for Achadjian’s Fourth District Board of Supervisors seat, Guthrie raised $37,005, which includes 120 private donations, many from current supervisors and city council members. Guthrie’s donors include Supervisor Jim Patterson, who contributed $500; Supervisor Adam Hill, $250; SLO City Council members John Ashbaugh and Jan Marx, both $100; Arroyo Grande Councilman Ed Arnold, $100; and Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility Director Rochelle Becker, $100.
Mike Zimmerman brought in $5,990 in the last six months of 2009, bringing his cash to $20,320 for the year. Notable among his 23 donors are John Spencer, owner of Spencer’s Market, $300; Dan Idler from Idler’s Appliance, $300; City Church of the Central Coast pastor Fred Kropp, $145; and former supervisor Ruth Brackett, $100.
County parks commissioner Paul Teixeira took in $12,104. Many of his 59 donors included ranchers and farmers from south county.
District Two Supervisor Bruce Gibson is up for reelection but remains unchallenged.
Who will replace Hedges?
In the election to fill the void left by Sheriff Patrick Hedges, who is not seeking reelection, one candidate enjoys a comfortable financial lead over the rest. SLO Police Captain Ian Parkinson raised $88,810 in 2009, $33,746 of that in the last six months.
Parkinson has a wide range of supporters. Of his 89 donations since July, contributions have come from such businesses as Calzyme Labratories and Randy Flamm, owner of software company I.Q.M.S. ($500 each), county and city administrators including supervisor Hill and councilman Ashbaugh ($100 each)—and not surprisingly—law enforcement, with SLO Chief of Police Deb Linden contributing $50.
Former Pismo Beach Chief Joe Cortez raised $26,222 from 40 donors including $1,000 from Beach House Inn owner Shirlee Davis and $100 from Cal Fire Division Chief Robert Lewin. Cortez now reportedly has $32,044 on hand.
Former county supervisor and SLO police lieutenant Lenthall is following close behind Cortez, having raised $18,250 since July with 62 campaign contributions, including $100 from Atascadero Mayor Pro Tem Tom O’Malley. Lenthall reported receiving a total of $21,319 in 2009.
Current sheriff’s department commander Ben Hall reported $20,196 in funding; $19,000 from a loan to himself, the rest from three donors. Former CHP Sergeant Michael Teixiera brought in $7,441 since July—$5,000 of that from a personal loan—and lists 40 donors, including six CHP officers and the sheriff of Yolo County, Ed Prieto.
Sheriff’s deputy Mark Adams raised $6,970—$5225 from loans—and lists eight donors, including John Bolton of Yogurt Creations in SLO and Philip Hart of Ambythe Winery.
Businessman Kevin Faircourt and retired Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Marilyn Morris have not yet released campaign financial disclosures, but both have filed notices they intend to run.
Both local U.S. House of Representatives seats are up for election as well, and as of now, it doesn’t look as though either Rep. Capps or Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be replaced.
McCarthy, the Republican representative for California District 22, is so far running unchallenged. But that didn’t stopped him from raising $944,001 in 2009, according to Federal Election Commission reports, with a majority of sources in the insurance and banking industries. McCarthy’s three largest campaign contributors were the Altria Group—the parent company for tobacco giant Phillip Morris USA—as well as Home Depot and New York Life Insurance, each of which donated $10,000 to McCarthy’s campaign.
Capps may not have it quite so easy in her bid to continue to represent the state’s 23rd District, but she has enough money on hand to render challenger David Stockdale virtually irrelevant. Capps reportedly raised $424,693 in 2009, the majority of which came from labor unions and the healthcare industry. Capps’ largest donors were the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, who contributed $10,000, as well as the American Association for Justice and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who each contributed $6,000.
Stockdale raised only $9,302 in 2009.
Staff Writer Matt Fountain can be reached at email@example.com.