Going into the final 10 weeks of the June primary campaign, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian has more money on hand than his opponents in the race to succeed Sam Blakeslee in the state Assembly, according to campaign finance reports, though challenger Matt Kokkonen has almost as much cash available.
Documents delineating campaign financial activity between Jan. 1 and March 17 show that Achadjian had $158,783 left, according to papers filed in the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office.
Kokkonen, a San Luis Obispo financial planner, had a cash balance of $143,327. He lent himself $145,000 last year and has raised other money in small donations.
Etta Waterfield, a former Santa Maria planning commissioner, had $105,518 on hand after lending herself $100,000.
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The fourth GOP candidate, Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong, had $722 on hand.
The lone Democrat in the race, Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias, had $34,009. Libertarian Paul Polson did not file a statement.
The six are seeking to replace Blakeslee, who must leave because of term limits. In November, Polson and Zacarias will go up against the Republican who wins the GOP primary.
In the county supervisor races, Bruce Gibson and Jim Guthrie enter the home stretch with the most money.
Gibson is the incumbent running for the 2nd District seat, which covers part of San Luis Obispo as well as Morro Bay, Los Osos and the North Coast. He has $24,489 left.
Gibson’s opponent, Marshall Ochylski, a San Luis Obispo attorney who sits on the Los Osos Community Services District board of directors, reported raising no money.
In the 4th District, Arroyo Grande City Councilman Jim Guthrie had $22,625 to spend. Arroyo Grande attorney Mike Zimmerman had $5,605, and Paul Teixeira, who sits on the county Parks Commission and the Lucia Mar school board, had $382.
The three are vying to replace Achadjian, who is ending his third term as 4th District supervisor. The district covers a slice of San Luis Obispo and most of the South County.
Race for sheriff
Ian Parkinson, a captain in the San Luis Obispo Police Department, had $32,412 on hand. Former Pismo Beach Police Chief Joe Cortez had $25,881, including $10,000 he lent himself.
They are followed by former county Supervisor Jerry Lenthall, who had $14,614; retired CHP Sgt. Michael Teixeira, who had $4,231; and sheriff’s Cmdr. Ben Hall, who had $2,007. The report for sheriff’s Deputy Mark J. Adams was incomplete.
Besides Cortez and Waterfield, many candidates in the races have lent themselves thousands of dollars to mount their campaigns. Lenthall, for example has lent himself $30,000, and Parkinson lent himself $5,000.
What Blakeslee is up to
Though he is not running for office in June, Blakeslee, too, is taking in money and has nearly half a million dollars for an expected run for state Senate, according to campaign finance documents.
Blakeslee plans to seek state Sen. Abel Maldonado’s seat when Maldonado’s term ends in 2012. But he could be in a battle sooner if the Legislature confirms Maldonado as lieutenant governor this spring. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has nominated Maldonado to fill the vacancy.
Blakeslee’s campaign donor list is heavy with political action committees, including insurance and oil companies, and Native American tribes and casinos.
He has, for example taken $3,500 from Anthem Blue Cross, the health insurer that drew headlines early this year when it announced plans to raise its rates by as much as 39 percent.
Other donors to Blakeslee’s future campaign include Aetna, Tenet, Health Net, Time-Warner Cable, ExxonMobil, Transamerica, Sempra, Valero PAC, Chevron, Target, and the Agua Caliente, Pechanga, Viejas and Rumsey tribes and casinos.