Double the Money:

Campaign spending increasing as election nears

By Ryann Grochowski | inewsource

With less than two weeks until the election, campaign fundraising and spending in the highest-profile local races has continued to accelerate.

Thursday was the latest finance deadline, and the filings showed ramped-up fundraising, even though the period covered was only 20 days long.

In the San Diego mayor’s race, Councilman Carl DeMaio continued to be the top fundraiser, bringing in nearly $648,000 from October 1 to 20. That’s more than five times what his opponent, Congressman Bob Filner, raised in the same period — $132,000.

Overall, DeMaio has raised $3.3 million to Filner’s $910,000. More than $700,000 of DeMaio’s haul has come from his own pocket. This week Filner gave himself $20,000. City candidates are free to donate as much to their campaigns as they’d like.

DeMaio reported spending $628,000 and Filner $281,000. Both are spending heavily on campaign ads and consulting.

Local Super PACs, formally known independent expenditure committees, continue to pour money into the mayor’s race. Taxpayers for Carl DeMaio raised $135,000 in October, thanks in part to large donations from U-T San Diego publisher Doug Manchester ($49,000) and San Diego Jobs PAC ($39,000), the political action committee of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, which is dedicated to fostering economic growth downtown.

The main anti-Filner PAC, San Diegans for Reform in Opposition to Bob Filner, did well in October, raising $377,000. More than 70 percent of that cash ($270,000) came from the pro-business San Diego Lincoln Club. The Lincoln Club gave an additional $140,000 to the PAC on Oct. 22.

The two main pro-Filner PACs raised a total of $408,000 in this last reporting period, with the majority of its funding coming from union committees.

Super PACs can raise and spend virtually unlimited money, and the majority of their expenses went to production and air time for television ads.

In the District 1 San Diego City Council race, businessman Ray Ellis continued to outraise incumbent Sherri Lightner. Ellis raised $76,000 to Lightner’s $12,000. Overall, Ellis has raised about $585,000, and Lightner $351,000.

District 1 is the only remaining competitive council race. Whoever wins Nov. 6 will determine council’s party majority.

In the 52nd congressional district, incumbent Brian Bilbray outraised his opponent Scott Peters by more than $100,000 in the most recent filing period. The 52nd, which runs from Coronado up to Poway, is a tossup district that’s seen a lot of fundraising and spending in the months leading up to the election.

Peters, a Democrat, raised $179,000 from Oct. 1 to 17. He loaned himself $600,000 in this period, bringing the amount he has loaned and donated to his committee at around $3 million. Bilbray reported raising about $287,000.

Electionwide, Bilbray has raised $2.4 million and Peters $2.2 million, though that number includes about a million in Peters’ personal donations and in-kind contributions.

The candidates’ money pales in comparison to what Super PACs have spent on this race. As of October 25, various Super PACs have spent a total of about $7 million dollars, mostly on campaign ads to oppose either candidate. About $3 million dollars were spent in the past two weeks alone.

We'll let you know when big things happen.

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