With the 2016 national elections just around the corner, SLO County residents are throwing cold, hard cash behind the candidates and causes they support.
A recent study by opensecrets.org, a website that tracks political spending, shows that SLO County residents have contributed a little more than $1 million in political donations for the upcoming federal elections. That money includes donations to candidates, outside groups, and political action committees (PACs).
According to the data, $886,574, or nearly 87 percent, of that total went directly to candidates running for office. Another $20,915 went to outside groups, and $117,326 of those total donations went to PACs, which can spend the funds to support or defeat candidates or proposed ballot measures.
The data also revealed which of the country’s two major political parties/ideologies is getting those donations. In SLO County, donations to Republican candidates and conservative causes totaled more than $495,500, while donations to Democratic and liberal candidates or causes was more than $425,000.
The website’s data also showed that Santa Barbara County is already vastly outspending SLO County when it comes to political donations for the federal-level races. In total, Santa Barbara County residents shelled out more than $4.7 million in donations so far, with more than 50 percent of those donations going to Democratic or liberal candidates or causes.
This election cycle, both counties are at the center of a high profile national race for California’s 24th District congressional seat. In addition to donations from local residents in both counties, money from individuals and PACs from across the U.S. is pouring into the race, pushing the amount into the multi-millions.