Quirk’s Fundraising Lead Shrinks While PACs Seek To Replenish Campaign Coffers

Bill Quirk, Dr. Jennifer Ong

ELECTION’ 12//ASSEMBLY 20 | As their campaign coffers dwindle, both candidates in the 20th Assembly District are increasingly turning to statewide political committees to fortify fundraising in this surprisingly costly campaign for Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s term out seat in Hayward.

According to campaign finance reports released this week, former Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk’s once prodigious fundraising lead over his challenger for the 20th Assembly District Dr. Jennifer Ong has dwindled considerably, although, reinforcement appear to be on the way.

A large spending spree by Quirk’s campaign surrounding the June 5 primary lowered his total cash in hand to $33,358, according to the reports. Ong documented just $14,824 in remaining cash ending June 30. The disparity is significantly lower than the previous reporting period just before the primary showing Quirk with nearly five times as much cash as Ong.

During the period between May 17 and June 30, Ong edged Quirk in fundraising with $67,715 in contributions as opposed to Quirk’s $63,505. Quirk also greatly outspent her during the period with $136,254 in expenditures to just $13,524 for Ong. However, the difference was evened greatly by just under $200,000 in independent expenditures by two political action committees with health care interests In favor of Ong during the primary campaign’s final weeks. In the course of the campaign, a total of over $440,000 has been spent by either Ong or independent expenditures. The profligate spending makes it one of the largest single outlays for any office in the state.

Both PACs support physician’s rights to limit medical malpractice liability, according to their Web sites. Ong, herself, an optometrist who owns her a practice in Alameda, has drawn additional support from a large number of optometrists across the state, according to campaign finance reports. During the most recent reporting period, Ong received contributions from the California Optometric Fund PAC ($3,900; $7,800 overall), the Union of American Physicians and Dentists Medical Defense Fund ($3,800) and the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians PAC ($2,000; $4,500 overall).

Quirk’s support among local labor unions, however, has proven to be a buffer to Ong’s wide support among medical professionals. One contributor, in particular, the Consumer Attorneys of California PAC, which donated $3,900 to Quirk’s campaign in June, appears to be a response to physicians attempting to limit the ability of trial lawyers to sue for large malpractice demands and potentially making the race in the 20th Assembly District somewhat of a proxy war for tort reform.
Meanwhile, the list of contributors to Quirk’s campaign during the period ending June 30 include heavy hitters in the labor movement, such as the Operating Engineers Local 3 PAC ($3,900; $7,800 overall), the State Buildings and Trades Council of California PAC ($2,500), California Labor Federation ($2,500), IBEW Local 1245 ($1,500) and the California Nurses Association ($3,200). Coincidentally, CNA contributed another $7,800 to Quirk’s campaign in a filing reported today, but not included in the most recent finance reports.

Although, large amounts of fundraising has been a hallmark of this race, so too, has the inclusion of large personal loans to each campaign. Quirk’s finance totals were buoyed last December by a $96,000 personal loan to his campaign that is still outstanding, according to reports. Ong, on the other hand, gave herself another $20,000 in a loan reported on June 20, which raises her personal debt to $61,100.