District attorney, supervisor races show fundraising activity

mfountain@thetribunenews.comFebruary 5, 2014 

The first round of campaign disclosure statements for San Luis Obispo County’s contested offices in the June 3 direct primary election were released Tuesday, revealing fundraising efforts that in some races are nearly neck and neck.

Local voters will decide on at least three races in the election, while a number of offices remain uncontested so far.

Candidates still have until March to file to run.

On the county Board of Supervisors, two seats are up for election: the District Four seat between appointed incumbent Caren Ray and her challengers so far, Lynn Compton and Michael Byrd; the District Two seat with incumbent Bruce Gibson and challenger Cambria Community Services District Director Muril Clift.

For the first time in 16 years, voters will also have at least two candidates to choose from in selecting a district attorney. So far, current Assistant D.A. Tim Covello and Deputy District Attorney Dan Dow are vying for the seat of long-time D.A. Gerry Shea, who announced late last year he would not seek a fifth term.

In the 4th District supervisor race, during the first filing period ending Dec. 31, challenger Compton has raised the most in campaign cash contributions, nearly $63,600—including a $22,500 loan from her business, Valley Farm Supply—and spent approximately $12,400, leaving her with a cash balance of more than $51,200.

Her donors include agriculturalists and conservative voices in the community such as the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County, county Supervisor Debbie Arnold, Pismo Beach Councilman Ed Waage, San Luis Obispo financial consultant Matt Kokkonen, and businesses such as Jim’s Ammo Depot.

Ray raised roughly $49,800 in cash as well as a $500 self-issued loan. She spent about $10,800, leaving her with nearly $39,000 cash on hand. Donors include a number of elected Democrats such as county Supervisor Adam Hill and Arroyo Grande Councilman Jim Guthrie. Two construction companies, Central Coast Community Builders and Mangano Homes, Inc., each contributed $10,000.

Byrd raised nearly $28,700 in cash contributions and spent just over $86. He has no outstanding loans, but had $16,500 in office space donated to his campaign from former Grover Beach Mayor Peter Keith. His donors also include Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson and real estate attorney Kirby Gordon.

Money in the 2nd District race is clearly flowing to Gibson, the incumbent, mostly from local medical practitioners and people involved with the local Democratic Party.

Gibson reported that he raised more than $37,300 in cash, including a $2,000 loan from himself, and spent over $25,300, leaving him with roughly $12,900.

Clift, on the other hand, raised just over $2,200 in cash including a $500 loan from himself. He spent nearly $300, leaving him with about $1,900. No public figures are listed as supporters.

In the district attorney race, Dow raised about $44,400. He issued a $400 loan to himself, and spent just over $13,600 in cash, leaving him with nearly $30,800 in cash.

His donors include 20 District Attorney’s Office prosecutors, county Supervisor Debbie Arnold, county Veterans Services Director Dana Cummings, retired Chief Deputy D.A. Dan Hilford, and defense attorney Jeff Stein.

Covello received approximately 30 percent less cash, about $30,300. That includes a $5,000 self-issued loan. He spent less than $2,100, leaving him with about $28,200 on hand.

His supporters include a number of current and retired law enforcement personnel; educators; and two Superior Court judges, John Trice and Rita Federman.

Subsequent pre-election statements are due from the candidates on March 20 and May 22, and will be available to the public within 24 hours.

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