Fundraising Reports In 18th Assembly Show Unions, Special Interests Flexing Muscles

Mar. 26, 2012 | For months, the only news coming from the three major candidates for the 18th Assembly District was a raging torrent of emails, tweets and proclamations trumpeting the latest round of endorsements, mostly from local labor unions. With two months until the June 5 primary, the candidates are starting to cash those special interests checks in greater frequency.

In the latest campaign fundraising report spanning from Jan. 1 to Mar. 17, a vast majority of the $180,000 in new campaign cash come from labor unions and special interest groups.

The percentage of fundraising, though, is virtually unchanged from the end-of-the-year filing last Dec. 31 highlighted by a surge by Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta and Peralta Community College Trustee Abel Guillen. But, as before, despite dwindling fundraising, AC Transit board member Joel Young still leads with cash in hand with nearly $162,000. In contrast to Young, both Bonta and Guillen have already spent a good portion of what they raised recently on consultants and campaign materials.

Bonta led the group in total fundraising ending Mar. 17 with just over $76,000, while spending over $79,000, according to reports filed with the secretary of state’s office. The bulk of the total came from personal donations from him and his wife totalling $9,500 and $15,000 from Jerome and Roslyn Meyer. Among Bonta’s late filings include large donations from union and special interests including, California Professional Firefighters PAC ($3,088); International Union of Painters and Allied Trades ($2,500); Deputy Sheriffs Association of Alameda PAC ($1,500); Farmers Employees & Agents PAC ($1,000); California Refuse Recycling Council ($1,000); California Association of Professional Scientists ($1,000) and Steamfitters Local 342 PAC ($1,000). All were received within the final week of the reporting period this month.

Guillen continued a strong stretch of fundraising finishing second during the same period with nearly $65,000 in fundraising and nearly $44,000 in expenditures, according to campaign finance reports. He used his significant advantage in education circles to bring in over $20,000 alone in fundraising in the last period. The California Teachers Association contributed $7,800 in January, followed by the same amount in February from the California Federation of Teachers. The Peralta Federation of Teachers pitched in another $3,900 this month. In addition, the powerful California Nurses Association donated $5,800 along with $3,900 from Electric Workers Local 595 this month.

Young, who after surging to the top in fundraising in early 2011 before personal troubles came to light, again finished a distant third over the past three and a half months. Young raised over $32,000 while spending in excess of $42,000, according to campaing finance reports. Like his two major opponents, much of Young’s haul this year involved contributions from labor unions and special interest groups. All of Young’s support, though, flowed into his campaign coffers just under the mid-March reporting deadline.

Among large donors include: California Conference Board Amalgamated  Transit Union PAC ($3,900); International Union of Painters and Allied Trades PAC ($1,000); Farmers Employees & Agents PAC ($1,000); Personal Insurance Federation of California Agents & Employees PAC ($1,000) and California New Car Dealers Association PAC ($1,000). Piedmont residents Eddie & Amy Orton of  Orton Development contributed a combined $5,800 in the past few weeks. Attorney Guy Saperstein donated $1,000.

In addition, to drawing upon contacts in the legal field, Young is also tapping donors from his football playing days at Cal. Former Golden Bears head coach Tom Holmoe donated $250 to his campaign along with former San Francisco 49ers president Carmen Policy adding $750 in February.

The spending race for the 18th Assembly District is already one of the more robust campaigns in the entire state. With coffers still loaded with cash, expect a flurry of mailers, lawn signs in the next two months in addition to other ways at applying their funds to drawing attention to their respective campaigns.

AD18 FUNDRAISING (Jan. 1-Mar. 17)
Source: Calif. Secy. of State