The money race is on among candidates for local offices

Katcho Achadjian is closing in financially on Etta Waterfield in their respective efforts to become the Republican candidate to succeed Sam Blakeslee in the state Assembly this November.

Meanwhile, Ian Parkinson has taken a comfortable lead over Jerry Lenthall and six other candidates in the money-raising part of the contest for sheriff, and Jim Guthrie leads a three-man field in terms of contributions in the race to succeed Achadjian in the county’s 4th Supervisoral District.

Second District County Supervisor Bruce Gibson still has no declared opposition.

Candidates filed their financial statements earlier this month with the county Clerk-Recorder. Nominations remain open through March 12.

Blakeslee cannot run again because of term limits. His future is tied to that of state Sen. Abel Maldonado. Maldonado’s Senate term expires in 2012, but if he becomes lieutenant governor, as he is seeking to do, it would trigger a special election to fill his senate seat. Blakeslee is widely expected to run for the job, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, the Assembly fight will be without an incumbent for the first time in six years and has attracted considerable interest among Republicans.

Achadjian vs. Waterfield

Achadjian, a San Luis Obispo County supervisor and state Coastal Commissioner, raised $89,397 between July 1 and Dec. 31, according to his filings. Waterfield, a former Santa Maria planning commissioner, took in $33,561.

Waterfield still has brought in more money overall — $194,652 to Achadjian’s $167,784 — but her fundraising is moving more slowly than Achadjian’s. And $100,000 of her total is a loan to herself.

If campaign reports are an indication, the GOP race is shaping into a struggle between those who live in northern Santa Barbara County and those who live across the county line in San Luis Obispo County. The district spans both regions.

Achadjian, an Arroyo Grande gas station owner, had 170 donors to his campaign this reporting period, the great majority of them from the county where he has served as supervisor for the past 11 years. He has barely a dozen contributors from Santa Maria and points south.

Waterfield, daughter-in-law of 1950s screen star Jane Russell, has 70 donors, with slightly more than one-third from San Luis Obispo County.

Others who have given to Achadjian include his former colleague on the Board of Supervisors, Harry Ovitt, $615; prominent South County farmer and Farm Bureau director Tom Ikeda, $250; Justin Vineyards of Paso Robles, $2,250; the California Independent Petroleum Association, $1,000; and the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association political action committee, $1,000.

Some who gave to Waterfield are Russell, $7,800; Christopher Mitchum, son of former movie star Robert Mitchum, $100; the California Independent Petroleum Association, $2,000; Safari Club International, $1,000; and the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians, $2,000.

Waterfield also received $7,800 from H.D. and Carol Perrett, ranchers who sought to move 5,000 acres of their ranch from San Luis Obispo County to Santa Barbara County in 2008, and may try again.

Achadjian initially carried the ball for the Perretts on that effort, which needed the support of the Board of Supervisors. But it fell short for several reasons, one of which was a warning that the Perretts planned to develop the land, which would be far more difficult to do in San Luis Obispo County. Perrett denied that. Achadjian ended up voting against the transfer.

Waterfield also received $10,000 from Diani Construction of Santa Maria and reported that in an earlier filing.

Other Assembly candidates

Two others seeking the GOP nomination are Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong and San Luis Obispo financial planner Matt Kokkonen.

Kokkonen has close to $180,000, but of that, $145,000 is money he loaned to himself. Apart from that, he has 13 donations ranging from $100 to $2,500.

Strong has taken in $1,450 from six people and has $290 in the bank.

The lone Democrat, Santa Maria City Councilwoman and businesswoman Hilda Zacarias, raised $29,262 in the final six months of 2009, bringing her total to more than $50,000. It came from 150 donors, two-thirds of them in San Luis Obispo County, where she is making an aggressive push.

Among those who have given to Zacarias are former San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Shirley Bianchi, $100; Morro Bay health care reformer Walter Heath, $2,347; and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, $270.

4th District campaign

In the race to replace Achadjian and represent South County, Guthrie took in $37,005 between July 1 and Dec. 31, giving him $47,205 for the year.

Guthrie, an Arroyo Grande City Councilman and general manager of the Spyglass Inn, had 120 contributors.

Among his backers are county Supervisors Adam Hill, with $501, and Jim Patterson, at $500; Bianchi, with $100, and Richard Kresja, with $200; and other current and former elected officials — John Ewan and John Ashbaugh, with $100 each; Jan Marx, with $350; Zacarias, $100; and Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed Arnold, $100.

Others are Hugh Gilson of Oceano, a leader in fighting for the rights of mobile home park tenants, $100; Mike Winn of the Nipomo Community Services District, $100; and Rochelle Becker of the anti-nuclear Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, $100.

Mike Zimmerman took in $5,990 from 23 people, giving him $20,320, according to finance reports.

Among his contributors were John Spencer of Spencer’s Market, $3,000, Karl Wittstrom, a Paso Robles farmer, $200; Former county Supervisor Ruth Brackett and her husband, Jack, $100; and Fred Kropp, pastor of the City Church of the Central Coast, $145.

Earlier, Zimmerman received $10,000 from H.D. Perrett.

The third candidate, Paul Teixeira, a Lucia Mar school board member and county parks commissioner, took in $12,104 with 59 contributions. Most came from Nipomo, and many were from ranchers, small businessmen or retired people.

Race for sheriff

In the money race for county sheriff, a vacancy to be filled because of Pat Hedges’ retirement, San Luis Obispo police Capt. Ian Parkinson continues to pace the field. Parkinson raised $33,746, giving him $88,810 for the year.

Former Pismo Beach Police Chief Joe Cortez reported raising $26,222 from 40 people. Of his total amount, $10,000 was a loan from himself or nonmonetary contributions.

Next is Jerry Lenthall, former county supervisor and a former San Luis Obispo police lieutenant, who took in $18,250, boosting his yearly total to $21,319.

Sheriff’s Cmdr. Ben Hall reported bringing in $20,196, of which $19,000 he loaned to himself.

Retired CHP Sgt. Michael Teixeira raised $7,441 from 40 donors, but $5,000 of that total was a loan. Half a dozen of Teixeira’s financial backers are CHP officers. He also received money from Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto.

Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Adams reported raising $6,970, of which $5,225 was in loans. He reported eight other contributors.

Entertainment broker Kevin Faircourt and retired Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Marilyn Morris of rural Arroyo Grande did not file reports. They have filed notices of intention to run for sheriff.

The sheriff oversees a staff of 392 with a $55 million budget, and the department patrols about 3,200 square miles in the unincorporated areas of the county.