Mayoral candidates are neck and neck in the race for cash

UPDATE (1/6/14): This post has been updated to include comments from Stacey Fulhorst of the San Diego Ethics Commission and information from a report filed after the deadline by New Majority Matters, a pro-Alvarez independent committee.

UPDATE (1/13/14): This post has been updated to include information from a report filed after the deadline by Environmental Health and Justice Campaign Fund, a pro-Alvarez independent committee.

San Diego mayoral contenders David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer are starting 2014 nearly neck and neck in the race for campaign cash, according to the first comprehensive report on campaign finances in the runoff phase of the election.

Republican Kevin Faulconer and the independent committees backing him reported having nearly $490,000 in available funds as of Dec. 28.

Democrat David Alvarez and supportive committees reported having nearly $442,000 in cash on hand.

The reports were released by candidates and independent committees Thursday evening and account for all contributions and expenditures between Nov. 3 and Dec. 28.

INTERACTIVE: Click here for a searchable database and interactive map and visualization of campaign contributions.

Kevin Faulconer
The final two months of 2013 were good for the second-term councilman, as Faulconer’s campaign committee built on what was a narrow lead over Alvarez’s campaign in available cash. His own election committee — which is prohibited from coordinating activity with independent committees that support him — reported having $146,447.83 in cash as of Nov. 3. From Nov. 3 through Dec. 28, his campaign reported raising $598,704.98 and spending $418,113.78 — including $67,695.59 in unpaid bills — and had $395,113.62 in cash on-hand at the end of the reporting period.

San Diegans to Protect Jobs and the Economy, which supports Faulconer, reported having $48,035.41 in cash as of Nov. 3. From that day through Dec. 28, it reported raising $108,000 and spending $89,685.85. It had $66,349.56 in cash on-hand at the end of the reporting period.

The other independent committee supporting Faulconer — Working Together for Neighborhood Fairness — was formed on Dec. 17. Between that date and Dec. 28, it reported raising $31,000 and spending $23,637 — including $18,587 in unpaid bills — and had $25,950 of cash on-hand at the end of the reporting period. The committee is sponsored by The Lincoln Club of San Diego County.

Much of the money raised by Faulconer’s campaign and the independent committees supporting him came from business interests. Since the start of the campaign, the 10 largest donors to all committees supporting Faulconer are as follows:

1) San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce PAC: $118,000
2) San Diego Restaurant & Beverage PAC: $69,750
3) San Diego Jobs Political Action Committee: $50,000
3) Infrastructure PAC of the Associated General Contractors: $50,000
3) Associated General Contractors of America San Diego Chapter, Inc: $50,000
3) Building Industry Association of San Diego County PAC: $50,000
7) Rod Dammeyer–Owner, CAC LLC: $32,000
8) Republican Party of San Diego County: $20,305.62
9) Stephen P. Cushman–Businessman: $12,000
10) San Diego Hotel-Motel Association Issue Advocacy PAC: $10,000

David Alvarez
While the first-term councilman and his supporters ended the year with less cash than Faulconer’s camp, they weren’t far behind.

Alvarez’s own campaign committee reported having $104,978.12 in cash as of Nov. 3. From Nov. 3 through Dec. 28, his campaign reported raising $272,367.65 and spending $158,134.08 and had $210,001.43 in cash on-hand at the end of the reporting period.

One pro-Alvarez independent committee, Working Families for a Better San Diego, raised nearly half a million dollars to support his candidacy. That committee, which is sponsored by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, reported having $183,981.70 in cash as of Nov. 3. From Nov. 3 through Dec. 28, Working Families reported raising $477,821.89 and spending $416,436.01 and had $215,158.18 of cash on-hand at the end of the reporting period.

Two other independent committees supporting Alvarez — Environmental Health and Justice Campaign Fund and New Majority Matters — filed the required campaign finance reports after the reporting deadline had passed.

Carrie Davidson, the treasurer for the Environmental Health and Justice Campaign Fund, when reached for comment the day after the reporting deadline, had said that his committee was not required to file a report because they had not raised or spent any money since the primary election, which was held on Nov. 19. The committee eventually filed a disclosure report on Jan. 10, eight days after the deadline for pre-election reports had passed. When reached for comment three days after filing the report, Davidson noted that the committee filed the document not as a pre-election report but rather as an early semi-annual statement. The disclosures contain the same information but semi-annual statements are not due until Jan. 31 and must be filed by all political committees, not just those active in the mayor’s race. Davidson said the committee will begin filing pre-election reports if and when it makes independent expenditures in the mayor’s race.

In the semi-annual statement, the committee reported having $3,039.99 in cash as of Nov. 3. From Nov. 3 through Dec. 28, Environmental Health and Justice Campaign Fund reported raising $13,550. The committee also reported spending $13,314.25 and had $2,967.77 of cash on-hand at the end of the reporting period.

Before the committee eventually filed, San Diego Ethics Commission Executive Director Stacey Fulhorst had said that in general, the amount of money raised or spent is irrelevant.

“Any primarily-formed city committee active in the special election must file reports in accordance with the filing schedule. If the committee has no activity in the reporting period, the form will reflect that,” she said while emphasizing that she was not commenting on any specific situation.

According to a manual issued by the San Diego Ethics Commission, “A committee primarily formed to support or oppose a candidate in the special election must file 3 pre-election reports. If that candidate makes it to the runoff, the committee must also file 2 pre-election reports before the special run-off election.”

The treasurer for New Majority Matters did not return a voicemail seeking comment Friday afternoon but the committee did file a report late Friday — one day after the deadline.

That committee reported having $47,067.37 in cash as of Nov. 3. From Nov. 3 through Dec. 28, New Majority Matters reported raising $2,813.42. The majority of the funds came from one non-monetary donation of “walk lists and materials” provided by the Labor Council’s Working Families for a Better San Diego. New Majority Matters also reported spending $36,502.47 and had $13,378.32 of cash on-hand at the end of the reporting period.

Much of the money raised by Alvarez’s campaign and the independent committees supporting him came from unions and union-backed groups. Since the start of the campaign, the 10 largest donors to all committees supporting Alvarez are as follows:

1) American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO: $406,919
2) American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – CA People Independent Expenditure Committee: $253,000
3) United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund: $230,217.52
4) United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 135, PAC: $202,500
5) San Diego Works! Sponsored by San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO: $194,113.72
6) United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, CLC: $65,000
7) Frank Carrillo–CEO, Unicare, Inc.: $60,000
8) International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 569 Candidate PAC: $50,000
9) San Diego County Democratic Party-Federal: $40,000
9) United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council Candidates PAC: $40,000

Mike Aguirre and Nathan Fletcher
Former candidate Mike Aguirre, who failed to advance to the runoff, also filed a report.

Since the start of his campaign, Aguirre, the former San Diego city attorney, reported raising $11,322 in contributions, spending $10,412 and having $1,712 in cash-on-hand. Aguirre announced early in the race that he would not accept more than $250 in contributions from any individual. Before Aguirre terminates his committee, he must exhaust his remaining cash-on-hand.

Former state assemblyman Nathan Fletcher who, like Aguirre, failed to advance to the runoff, did not file any reports, nor did any independent committees supporting him.

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About Joe Yerardi:

Joe Yerardi
Joe Yerardi is a freelance data journalist for inewsource, where he worked between 2013 and 2016 as an investigative reporter and data specialist. To contact him with questions, tips or corrections, email joe.yerardi@gmail.com.