With just a week to go before the Nov. 8 election, thousands of dollars are continuing to pour into the campaign coffers of the four candidates for two San Luis Obispo County supervisor seats.
District 3 candidate Dan Carpenter, who is challenging incumbent Adam Hill, brought in the most money during the last month, boosted by a $20,000 contribution from businessman and philanthropist B. Wayne Hughes Jr., a billionaire who has supported conservative candidates.
District 1 candidate John Peschong wasn’t far behind Carpenter in fundraising during late September and October, the most recent campaign finance statements show.
Peschong has also brought in more money from outside the area than any of the other supervisor candidates, with nearly 40 percent of the cash contributions sent in from areas other than San Luis Obispo County.
He continues to far outpace his competitor, Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin. They are running to succeed outgoing Supervisor Frank Mecham, who has often served as a crucial swing vote on the board while representing a large stretch of northern San Luis Obispo County.
In the District 3 race, Hill has brought in more money from outside the county than Carpenter.
All four of the candidates are heading to runoffs next week because none of them received more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 7 primary.
In the period including 2015 through Oct. 22, 2016, Peschong raised $262,304 from 722 contributors, excluding non-monetary contributions. Of that, $102,635 — or 39.1 percent — came from 199 out-of-area contributors.
In the most recent reporting period, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 22, he brought in $39,870 from 98 contributors, with $21,325, or 53.5 percent, from 28 contributors outside the area.
A political consultant and former Republican strategist, Peschong said he has numerous friends and professional contacts throughout the country who donated to his campaign. Some of the out-of-county money came from numerous consulting firms, several state Assembly candidates as well as the Kevin McCarthy for Congress committee and the California Independent Petroleum Association.
The recent contributors include Firestone Walker Inc. out of Buellton, which gave $1,000; $5,000 from Michael Burns of MickTec in Southern California; $2,500 from FP1 Strategies in Washington, D.C.; and $1,000 from a committee called Aguiar for Assessor 2022 based in Irvine, which has stated the intention on a campaign finance statement to run for San Luis Obispo County assessor.
“I’ve been working professionally for 30 years and in that time I’ve made friends with a number of people who have made contributions,” Peschong said. “As any candidate would do when you announce, you send out emails and talk to people around the country, if you have friends around the country, which I have.”
Martin, meanwhile, has raised $59,018 from 182 contributors in 2015 through Oct. 22, 2016. Of that, $9,350, or 15.8 percent, came from 13 contributors outside the county. In the most recent reporting period, he brought in $12,565 from 46 contributors, with one $1,500 contribution from outside the county.
Recent contributors include $1,000 from the campaign of Eric Michielssen for Supervisor, who unsuccessfully ran against Supervisor Debbie Arnold in the primary election; $1,500 from the International Union of Operating Engineers in Pasadena; and $1,000 from District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson.
Overall, Carpenter has raised $154,064 in cash from 511 contributors in 2015 through Oct. 22, 2016. Of that, $6,215, or 4 percent, came from outside the county.
But that figure doesn’t include the $20,000 contribution from Hughes, son of the founder of Public Storage, who is estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.24 billion. Carpenter said Hughes now lives in Shell Beach, stating in a news release that Hughes has been a part-time/full-time resident of the county for 18 years.
Peschong, who received a $500 contribution from Hughes, listed his residence as Malibu. Hughes in the past has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and others’ political action committees, according to the Sacramento Bee. This year, he gave $117,000 to Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In 2013 he founded Serving California, a nonprofit focused on helping military families, crime survivors and inmates to rebuild their lives, according to his website. He provides rehabilitation services to veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at SkyRose Ranch, a 22,000-acre retreat in San Miguel.
“If he has an agenda, I don’t know what it is,” Carpenter said of Hughes’ contribution. “He’s not a developer. He’s asked for nothing.”
Carpenter raised $42,666 from 50 contributors during the most recent reporting period, with one contribution from outside the area: $500 from the Aguiar for Assessor 2022 committee.
The contributions also included $5,000 from the Home Builders Association Political Action Committee, which in a letter to Carpenter said it supports “candidates who will support ordinances and policies that will help the home-building industry provide much needed housing in San Luis Obispo County.”
Hill has raised $247,001 in cash from 530 contributors in 2015 through Oct. 22, 2016. Of that, $59,149 — or 24 percent — came from 53 out-of-area contributors.
Recently, he raised $22,568 from 44 contributors, with $10,300 from out of the county. The contributors included $1,500 from the International Union of Operating Engineers Political Fund from Pasadena; $1,000 from the Southern California District Council of Laborers PAC; $1,000 from Jim Patterson, founder of mobile messaging service Zinc in San Francisco; and $1,000 each from two vice presidents of consulting firm Micktec, Inger Airheart in Marina del Rey and Jeff Hirsh in Austin, Texas.
Hill also received $2,500 from developer Gary Grossman, president of Coastal Community Builders, who has contributed $10,393 in cash so far this year.