In a sign that November is just around the corner, San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx took aim at her challenger, Heidi Harmon, in a Sept. 30 campaign newsletter highlighting a $300 donation to Harmon from Integrity SLO, a committee founded by controversial local activist Kevin P. Rice.
Rice is a former SLO City Council candidate, outspoken opponent of Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreational Area off-roading regulations, and staunch critic of Marx, the SLO Rental Inspection Program, and SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill.
“I thought her supporters and my supporters should know that she had accepted a donation from this man, who is known to be against any kind of environmental regulation,” Marx told New Times. “It’s a question of where is she really coming from? It’s really up to the candidate to accept or reject a donation.”
Harmon responded that the donation came in without her knowledge, having gone directly to her campaign treasurer. She claimed she wasn’t familiar with Rice’s politics, knowing only that, “he’s a controversial figure.” She said she’s returning the donation.
“This was the only check that didn’t come through my website. It was outside my consent or desire,” Harmon told New Times.
Harmon also took to her campaign website to respond to Marx.
“The residents of SLO deserve better,” her website reads. “We call on Mayor Marx to join us in a positive campaign. You deserve an honest and integrity-filled debate on real issues and our vision for the city’s future, not insults and attacks that we hear enough of in national politics.”
Marx is running for a fourth term as mayor while Harmon is pursuing her first elected office. The candidates share common ground in their progressive political views, yet in other ways stand in contrast to one other. Marx emphasizes her experience on the council, while Harmon promises she’ll be a stronger listener and leader of the community.