Politics & Government

Many candidates spend big in run-up to Nov. 4 election

With the Nov. 4 election fast approaching, candidates running for office across San Luis Obispo County have been continuing to raise — and maybe more importantly at this point, spend — money prodigiously in hopes of claiming victory on Election Day.

The latest campaign disclosure forms filed this week cover the candidates’ financial activity as of Oct. 18. Many candidates have spent most of their money, which may be obvious to voters besieged by mailers and TV ads in recent days.

Here are the numbers, through Oct. 18, according to financial disclosure statements:

District 4 county supervisor

Lynn Compton continues to raise significantly more money than incumbent Caren Ray in this hotly contested and most expensive supervisorial race in county history.

Compton has raised $420,137 since the start of campaigning in 2013 in contrast to Ray, who has raised $278,458.

Compton, a Republican and Nipomo resident, is co-owner of Valley Farm Supply in Santa Maria. Ray, a Democrat and Arroyo Grande resident, was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the District 4 seat a year ago after Paul Teixeira died in office.

Compton’s biggest donors are Republicans and farmers, while Ray’s support comes mainly from labor unions and developers.

Compton’s biggest contributor this year is the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County, which has given her campaign $27,042. Ray’s biggest contributor this year has been developer Gary Grossman, president of Coastal Community Builders, who has given her campaign $11,700.

Since the start of the campaign in 2013, the county Republican Central Committee has given Compton a total of $32,207; Ray has received $25,386 from Grossman since 2013, according to records filed with the county Clerk-Recorder.

As of Oct. 18, Compton was $103,735 in debt. One of her biggest creditors is political consulting firm Meridian Pacific Inc., led by local Republican activist John Peschong. She owes $33,224.66 to the firm for email and Internet services, campaign mailings and print ads.

Ray finishes her campaign with a debt of $500, which is equivalent to a loan she made to her own campaign. Her biggest expenditure this month has been $15,110 to KSBY-TV for advertising.


Tommy Gong has raised seven times more money than opponent Amanda King.

As of Oct. 18, Gong raised $72,531 and was $10,000 in debt. King raised $10,306, of which $7,256 are loans she made to her campaign.

Gong and King are co-workers: Gong is assistant clerk-recorder, the No. 2 position in the office, and King is a deputy clerk-recorder. The winner will succeed Julie Rodewald, who is retiring.


Mayor Tom O’Malley raised $11,544 in cash, loans and nonmonetary donations this year, spent $11,656 and has $545 in cash on hand as of Oct. 18. His challenger, Charles Scovell, raised $3,325 and spent $3,299 as of Oct. 18, leaving him with $26 in cash.

Among the four City Council candidates, incumbent Brian Sturtevant raised the most this year. As of Oct. 18, he raised $10,400 in cash and nonmonetary contributions and spent $9,423, ending with a cash balance of $1,150 and $1,640 in outstanding debts. He recently spent $1,215 on mailers.

Incumbent Heather Moreno also entered this election with leftover funds and raised $10,049 this year, spent $16,573 and has $1,742 remaining. She has recently spent $5,705 on advertising, postage and mailers.

Len Colamarino raised $8,554 as of Oct. 18, with half coming in during October. He has spent $5,226, leaving his campaign with $2,737 in cash. He donated $137 to Caren Ray’s campaign for county supervisor.

Chuck Ward raised $3,402 and spent $3,084, including $1,416 in a last push for print advertising and campaign paraphernalia.

Arroyo Grande

City Council candidate Barbara Harmon still leads the way in fundraising when compared to her two opponents — incumbents Tim Brown and Joe Costello — in the race for two council seats.

Harmon raised $10,839 and spent $6,546, leaving her with $4,302 as of Oct. 18. She spent about $2,116 on campaign literature and mailings. Brown raised $6,735, spent $6,108 this year and has $626 left. Costello raised $700 earlier in the year and has about $334 left.

Supporters of mayoral candidate Jim Hill, who is mounting a write-in challenge against incumbent Tony Ferrara, raised $3,561. The committee spent $3,144 and has $417 left.

Expenditures include $2,951 on campaign literature and mailings, and $143 to Kevin P. Rice for phone banks.

Hill and Ferrara both filed forms stating they do not expect to raise or spend more than $1,000 in their own campaigning.

Grover Beach

Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson raised $13,727, spent $10,273 and had $3,454 left Oct. 18. Expenditures include $881 on campaign literature and mailings, and $1,180 on campaign paraphernalia.

Mayoral challenger John Shoals raised $17,331 and spent about $14,630, leaving him with $2,700 as of Oct. 18. Recently, he spent about $2,920 on printing and postcards, and $750 on website services.

Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah are running unopposed for two council seats, and each filed forms stating they do not intend to raise or spend more than $1,000.

Paso Robles

Councilman Steve Martin is running unopposed in the mayoral race. He raised $8,517 in cash and nonmonetary contributions and spent $3,344 with $3,216 in cash remaining as of Oct. 18.

In the race for two City Council seats, incumbent John Hamon has raised the most, with $16,335 in contributions as of Oct. 18. He spent $11,796 and had $4,538 in cash remaining. He spent $4,617 in October on campaign literature and mailings.

Duane Picanco raised $11,889, including $3,040 in nonmonetary contributions, spent $10,351 and had $239 left Oct. 18. A final push in advertising, campaign literature and mailings has totaled $4,823. He had $1,391 in unpaid bills.

Pam Avila raised $3,365 to date and spent $5,016 with $2,191 in cash remaining Oct. 18.

However, she has $3,957 in unpaid bills, including $900 to her campaign manager and $2,000 to herself. She could not be immediately reached to identify that expense, which is not listed as a loan.

Steve Gregory raised $13,563 and spent $14,034, leaving him with $354 in cash and $825 in unpaid bills Oct. 18.

Jim Reed raised $8,065 and spent $6,611 with $1,453 left Oct. 18. He’s made a recent push on mailers and signs, spending $1,775 on those this period.

Pismo Beach

As of Oct. 18, incumbent Mayor Shelly Higginbotham raised $8,238, including a nonmonetary donation of $1,774 from Gary Grossman of Coastal Community Builders for a meet-and-greet event Oct. 8. She spent $2,533, leaving her with $2,942.

Mayoral challenger Kevin Kreowski raised $2,098 and spent $1,787, leaving him with $311.

Among the four contenders for two City Council seats, incumbent Mary Ann Reiss raised the most this year, $10,460 (with an additional $775 carried over from her last race). She spent $7,370 and had $3,865 remaining. She and incumbent Kris Vardas also disclosed receiving $1,774 each in noncash contributions from the Grossman meet-and-greet event.

Vardas raised $6,317 and spent $3,159, leaving $2,146 in cash, $913 in unpaid bills and $1,396 in an outstanding loan from himself.

Marcia Guthrie raised $10,525 and spent $6,306, leaving $4,218 on hand. In the last reporting period, she spent $4,511 on campaign literature and mailings.

Sheila Blake raised $10,352 and spent $6,295 and had $4,056 left Oct. 18. She recently spent $2,976 on campaign literature and mailings.

San Luis Obispo

Among three mayoral candidates, incumbent Jan Marx is the only one to raise significant funds. She has slowed that effort in recent weeks but raised $14,043 this year, including a $1,000 loan from herself. She has spent $10,574 on signs, mailers, advertising and other campaign materials.

Challenger Donald Hedrick filed a form declaring he would not collect or spend more than $1,000. Challenger Jeffrey Specht has raised $250, which remains unspent.

Of the five candidates running for two City Council seats, incumbent Carlyn Christianson has raised the most money this year: $13,380. Recent donors include PG&E and San Luis Obispo attorney John Spatafore, who is heading a campaign to build the Homeless Services Center. She has spent $9,577.

Dan Rivoire has raised $12,875 and spent $5,600 on campaign materials. The latest donors include county Supervisor Bruce Gibson and the California Progress Fund PAC.

Gordon Mullin raised $12,301, including a $5,900 personal loan, and spent $11,635.

Mike Clark raised $8,193 by Oct. 18, which includes a $2,000 personal loan, and spent $5,591.

Daniel Cano raised no money but loaned his campaign $563.

U.S. Congress

In the race for the 24th Congressional District seat, Democratic incumbent Lois Capps has far outraised and outspent Republican challenger Chris Mitchum as of Oct. 15, the latest filing deadline for federal elections.

Capps has raised a total of $2,077,294 since January 2013. Between Oct.1 and Oct. 15, she spent $398,799, more than any other filing period in the election cycle, mostly on television ads and fliers. Since January 2013, Capps has spent more than $1.8 million. As of Oct. 15, she had $736,205 remaining in cash.

Mitchum has collected $147,687 in contributions since January 2013 and spent $201,208, including $51,402 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15. In addition, Mitchum loaned his campaign $212,000. He had $154,553 remaining on hand as of Oct. 15.

The district includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and part of northern Ventura counties.

EDITOR'S NOTE (10-27): A sentence of clarification has been added in the section on the District 4 county supervisor race. The story originally listed contributions from two donors in 2014. The new sentence adds how much those donors have given the candidates since fundraising started in 2013.