Politics & Government

Some challengers dig deep to try to unseat Capps in 24th District congressional race

U.S. Rep. Lois Capps is shown during a debate at The Tribune in September 2012.
U.S. Rep. Lois Capps is shown during a debate at The Tribune in September 2012. Special to The Tribune

Incumbent Lois Capps continues to be a prodigious fundraiser compared to her eight challengers for the 24th District congressional seat, the latest financial disclosure statements show.

The two candidates who win the most votes in Tuesday’s primary — whether Democrat, Republican or independent — will face off in the Nov. 4 general election.

Some of the challengers have put a substantial amount of their own money on the table betting they’ll be one of the top two. Six have also bought TV and radio time to try to get their message to voters.

Capps, 76, a Democrat, is seeking her ninth full term in Congress and is facing unprecedented opposition from two other Democrats, five Republicans and one independent in a newly redrawn district and under the state’s new open primary system.

The latest disclosure statements, which cover finances through May 14, show that Capps amassed a total of $1,407,683 during this election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The health-care industry, public sector unions and Democratic political action committees make up Capps’ largest contributors. Her campaign spent a total of $763,160. As of May 14, she had $1,015,364 cash on hand and no outstanding loans. She began the cycle with $354,430 cash from previous campaigns.

Santa Barbara Republican challenger Justin Fareed, 26, a former legislative aide and vice president of his family’s Pro Band Sports Industries Inc., also has spent heavily, although much of his campaign is self-financed.

Fareed has raised a total of $143,914 from donors since the start of the campaign, plus $160,305 in loans from himself. He has spent a total of $207,461 and has $96,866 still on hand.

Republican Chris Mitchum, an actor and author from Santa Barbara, reported raising a total of $27,832 from donors and loaned his campaign $92,000 of his own money in the cycle. He has spent $109,285 and had $12,893 on hand as of May 14. He began the cycle with $2,346.

Two-term Santa Barbara City Councilman, former software engineer and Republican candidate Dale Francisco, 60, also has spent his own money campaigning, but far less than Fareed and Mitchum.

Francisco has infused $32,000 of his own money into the campaign and raised $127,150 from donors. He has spent $153,450 and had $5,700 on hand.

Republican Brad Allen, 59, a Santa Barbara pediatric surgeon, reported raising a total of $28,921 and loaning $9,780 of his own funds to his campaign as of May 14. He reported spending a total of $13,949 and had $14,970 on hand.

A spokesperson for the FEC confirmed Tuesday that Republican candidate, Nipomo resident and credit consultant Alexis Stuart, 60; and Atascadero resident and engineer Steve Isakson, 62, an independent, did not raise or spend the minimum $5,000 in the period that would require a disclosure.

Capps’ two Democratic challengers, banker and former teacher, Paul Coyne, 50, of Santa Maria; and Sandra Marshall, 62, of San Luis Obispo, did not file disclosures by the May 14 deadline, FEC records show.

Coyne’s treasurer was sent a letter by the FEC advising that the campaign had until 5 p.m. eastern standard time Friday to file the forms or be fined.

According to his previous filing on March 31, Coyne reported raising a total of $10,799 and loaning his campaign $53,830. He spent $63,682, leaving him with $917 on hand as of March 31.

The FEC had not posted a similar warning letter to Marshall’s campaign as of Thursday. Marshall told the Tribune Thursday she raised just over $1,000, spent a total of $30,000 and had roughly $600 left on hand.

Capps, Fareed, Mitchum, Francisco, Allen and Marshall took their campaigns to the airwaves during the filing period. Mitchum spent approximately $38,000 on TV and radio advertising, Francisco about $55,000, Fareed approximately $75,700 and Capps about $130,000.

Allen said Thursday he has spent $108,359 on TV and radio ads, but didn’t begin spending until after the May 14 filing deadline. Marshall — though her filing is not yet posted — said Thursday she spent about $5,500 on TV and radio advertising.