Candidates report cash flowing into campaigns for June 3 election

Contenders for supervisor and district attorney lead in fundraising; Achadjian amasses $236,950

newsroom@thetribunenews.comMarch 25, 2014 

Campaign cash is flowing in for many candidates running in the June 3 primary election with substantial contributions made in several races.

That’s not the case across the board, however. One incumbent has amassed more than $200,000 while his opponent has raised little or no money.

Campaign finance statements were due Monday for candidates running in state and local elections. They show how much candidates received from Jan. 1 through March 17.

Financial reports for the 24th District congressional race are not due until April 15.

District attorney

The two candidates have received significant dollars so far. Deputy District Attorney Dan Dow once again outraised his boss, Assistant District Attorney Tim Covello. During this period, Dow raised about $61,000 while Covello raised around $27,000.

For the entire race Dow has raised $105,000 compared to Covello’s $57,000. During the latest period, Dow spent roughly $37,000, leaving him with a cash balance of $57,000. Covello, meanwhile, spent around $17,000 in cash, leaving him with roughly $38,000.

Dow’s contributors include fellow deputies from his office, along with Atascadero fire Capt. Keith Aggson and Paso Robles school board member Field Gibson.

Covello’s financial supporters include Judge Barry LaBarbera, current District Attorney Gerry Shea and retired San Luis Obispo police chief James Gardiner.

County supervisor

Among the five candidates running for two supervisor seats, Lynn Compton has raised the most money. She is challenging 4th District incumbent Caren Ray.

Compton has raised more than $80,000 and had more than $54,000 in her account. Ray has raised more than $62,000 and had nearly $43,000 cash on hand. The third candidate in the 4th District race, Michael Byrd, has raised nearly $32,000 and had nearly $15,000 as of March 17.

In the 2nd District contest, incumbent Bruce Gibson has raised nearly $26,000 and had an ending cash balance of nearly $14,000. His opponent, Muril Clift of Cambria, raised $8,289 and still had $1,368 on hand as of March 17.

Compton received campaign donations from more than 90 individuals and groups. Her largest contributions were $5,000 each from Kathleen Maas of Pear Valley Estate Wine of Paso Robles and the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo which supports Republican candidates.

Compton also received donations from conservative elected officials, including county Supervisor Debbie Arnold, who gave $180; Pismo Beach City Councilman Ed Waage, who gave $170; and $1,000 from Kevin McCarthy for Congress.

Ray’s campaign statement lists 75 donors. The largest at $2,500 was from the San Luis Obispo-based labor union International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 639. She also received $100 donations from liberals including former Supervisor Shirley Bianchi and Nipomo environmental activist Bill Deneen.

Byrd listed 14 contributions from South County residents, including $500 from Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson.

Gibson listed 51 donors, the largest contribution being his own $2,000. Other larger contributors were Cambria retirees Terry and Jeri Farrell who gave $600, Barbara Renshaw of Los Osos and attorney Don Ernst of San Luis Obispo, who gave $500 each.

Clift received 19 individual donations, the largest being $2,000 from his wife. He also received smaller contributions from residents critical of the Los Osos sewer project, which Gibson has said is his main accomplishment in office.

State Assembly

Incumbent Katcho Achadjian has raised $50,400 since January, leaving him with a substantial $236,950 on hand from previous fundraising while in office.

His challenger, Democrat Heidi Harmon of San Luis Obispo, has filed a campaign statement indicating she has raised or spent less than $1,000.

Achadjian, a Republican, has received money this reporting period from numerous political action committees and companies, but no individuals. Contributions include $2,000 from Phillips 66 Co., which is seeking to extend a rail spur line at its oil refinery on the Nipomo Mesa. California Steel Industries Inc. gave $1,500; and the California Independent Petroleum Association political action committee contributed $1,000.

The largest contributions came from the California Professional Firefighters PAC, at $5,200; and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association PAC, which gave $4,100.

County clerk-recorder

Three candidates are running for this office: Assistant Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong, Deputy Clerk-Recorder Amanda King and Caltrans business management district Chief Ann Danko.

Two candidates have been funding their own campaigns so far.

Gong has raised $18,900 so far, with nearly 80 percent from donors living outside San Luis Obispo County. Gong said they are friends and family. The largest contribution, $5,000, came from his mother, Mary Gong, who lives in Patterson. Gong also gave $3,000 to his campaign. He received $100 each from San Luis Obispo City Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson and San Luis Obispo County Office of Education trustee Gaye Galvan.

Danko has raised $4,338 with all but $1 coming from her own pocket. The dollar came from Jeremy Miller, an information analyst for Caltrans.

King has loaned $4,000 to her campaign and received $70 in donations.

Morro Bay City Council

In the Morro Bay mayoral race, incumbent Jamie Irons received $7,063, compared to $3,850 for challenger Carla Wixom. Wixom contributed $2,500 to her own campaign.

Irons’ largest contribution of $1,000 came from Morro Bay resident Barry Branin. Three $500 donations came from economic developer Lee Johnson, Nevada resident Rigmor Samuelsen, and McFarland, Calif.-resident James Regan of J.R. Regan Farms.

Among the candidates running for two council seats, Matt Makowetski raised the most money, reporting $3,922 in donations. William Luffee, president of San Luis Obispo-based marketing company Promotions Plus, gave Makowetski the most, a contribution of $500.

Council candidate John Headding loaned himself $2,200 — the only money he reported. And incumbent Nancy Johnson contributed $250 to her campaign.

To view candidate financial disclosure statements, go to County Clerk-Recorder's Office website.


Staff writers AnnMarie Cornejo, Matt Fountain, Cynthia Lambert, Patrick Pemberton, David Sneed and Nick Wilson contributed to this report.

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