Arnold, Hill and Peschong lead in fundraising for 3 county supervisor seats

John Peschong
John Peschong jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Incumbents Debbie Arnold and Adam Hill, along with Republican political consultant John Peschong, have far outstripped their rivals in fundraising for their campaigns to secure three different seats on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

Arnold, running to retain her District 5 seat representing the North County, has raised more than $178,000 since the start of her campaign, according to the latest campaign finance disclosure statements filed last week with the county Clerk-Recorder’s Office.

Hill has raised nearly $173,000 in the contest for the District 3 South County seat, while Peschong has raised more than $115,000, or nearly four times more than any other candidate for the District 1 seat, which also represents the North County.

Residents can expect to see more campaign signs, mailers and ads, as candidates spend their dollars to gain voters’ attention as the June 7 primary election nears. In each race, a candidate must earn more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary to win the seat, otherwise the top two vote-getters face off in the Nov. 8 general election. Here’s a breakdown of fundraising so far:

District 1

Peschong has raised four times more money than his three competitors in his bid to replace retiring Supervisor Frank Mecham.

Since the beginning of the year, Peschong has raised $87,049.77 and spent $65,118.56. In 2015, Peschong raised $28,312, bringing his total fundraising for the campaign to $115,361.

His biggest recent contributor was the Kevin McCarthy for Congress committee, which gave $5,000. Other large contributors were $2,500 from the California Independent Petroleum Association of Irvine; and $2,000 each from media consultant Michael McElwain of Alexandria, Va., and Teixeira Farms of Santa Maria.

Paso Robles City Councilman John Hamon has raised $10,956.68 and spent $8,394.47 since the beginning of the year. Last year, Hamon raised $7,171, bringing his total contributions to $18,127.

His largest contributor this year was financial advisor Koene Graves of Paso Robles, who gave $1,000. Four people gave Hamon’s campaign $500: Carol Kiessig, a retiree of Templeton; Paul Viborg of Templeton, owner of Viborg Sand & Gravel; Dale Gomer of Paso Robles, owner of Paso Robles Waste; and Heather McCollum of Buellton, chief financial officer of Firestone Walker Inc.

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin raised $9,612 since the beginning of the year and spent $10,432.74. Last year, Martin raised $19,761 for a total war chest of $29,373. His biggest contributor this year was the public relations firm Public Policy Solutions of San Luis Obispo, which gave $2,500. Other large contributors were the SLO County Democratic Party, which gave $1,500; and Pear Valley Vineyard owner Kathleen Maas of San Miguel, who gave $1,000.

Dale Gustin of Paso Robles filed a campaign statement declaring that he will receive and spend less than $2,000 during the year.

The district includes Paso Robles, San Miguel and most of Templeton.

District 3

Since the start of 2015, incumbent Adam Hill has amassed more than twice as much money for his campaign as his challengers, though San Luis Obispo City Councilman Dan Carpenter actually brought in more than either Hill or candidate Debbie Peterson in the most recent filing period.

In his bid to protect the seat he has held since 2009, Hill has raised $172,936 in cash and noncash contributions since January 2015, and has spent $129,362, leaving him with $69,924 on hand. (Hill started the year with $26,350.)

His nonmonetary donations included $6,849.46 in food, beverages, entertainment, invitation and event help for an April 8 birthday party from developer Gary Grossman, according to his latest campaign filings.

Hill’s biggest contributions through April 2016 were $14,633.46 in cash and nonmonetary donations from Grossman; $7,950 in cash and nonmonetary donations from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Chapter 639 Political Action Committee; $6,000 from Phoenix-based developer Bradley Wilde; $5,250 from Somera Capital Management LLC in Santa Barbara; $5,000 from Pismo Beach real estate agent Jason Blankenship; $4,000 from San Luis Obispo attorney Don Ernst; and $4,000 from the Bruce Gibson for Supervisor campaign.

Carpenter raised the most among the District 3 contenders between January 2016 and April, though he was still behind Hill for the total amount of money raised since the start of their campaigns. According to his filings, he began 2015 with no campaign funds and raised $77,911 in the past 15 months — $45,234 of that since the start of 2016 alone.

He spent $67,996.41 between January 2015 and April, and ended the month with a cash balance of $5,390.59.

His top monetary contributions were $2,000 from Leslie Halls of San Luis Obispo; $1,150 from retirees Rob and Peaches Olson of San Luis Obispo; and $1,000 each from California Real Estate Political Action Committee, Founders Community Bank CEO Tom Sherman, Ken Porche Sr. of San Luis Obispo, Joseph and Yvonne Rouleau of San Luis Obispo, Marc Brazil of San Luis Obipso, Gary and Suzanne Christensen of Morro Bay and Pam and Tom Copeland of San Luis Obispo.

He also received a total of $16,000 in nonmonetary contributions from Laura Mordaunt of San Luis Obispo, Andrea Seastrand of Grover Beach and Terri Stricklin of Nipomo for campaign administration services.

Peterson began 2015 with no campaign funds and has raised $65,104.87 in both monetary and nonmonetary donations since January 2015, including $19,200 in loans from herself. She accrued expenses of $72,794.62 — including an unpaid bill for $5,000 from a Peterson Family Trust to pay for a campaign consultant. She had a cash balance of $1,209.11 as of April 28.

Her top donors were Century Properties, which contributed $8,225; nonmonetary donations totaling $3,990 from her company, Peterson Team Realty; $1,500 from banker Steve Peterson in Fresno; $1,100 from Arroyo Grande real estate broker Dennis Allan; and $1,000 from the California Real Estate PAC.

The district encompasses 61 percent of San Luis Obispo, as well as Avila Beach, Edna Valley, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach.

District 5

Incumbent Debbie Arnold has raised more than three times as much money for her District 5 re-election bid as her challenger, Eric Michielssen.

Since the beginning of the year, Arnold has raised $62,630.97, compared with Michielssen’s $38,920.99 for the same period. Arnold also spent freely, having made $87,200.19 in expenditures compared with Michielssen’s $29,699.41 in expenditures.

In 2015, Arnold raised $116,054, bringing her total contributions for the campaign to $178,685.

Also in 2015, Michielssen raised $18,005 for total contributions of $56,926 since he began his run for office.

Arnold’s biggest campaign contributor was real estate manager B. Wayne Hughes Jr. of Malibu, who donated $2,500. She also received two $2,000 donations, one from Teixeira Farms of Santa Maria and another from Opolo Wines, which listed an address in Westlake Village.

Michielssen’s biggest campaign contributor was the SLO County Democratic Party, which donated $1,500. He also received $1,050 from Pear Valley Vineyard owner Kathleen Maas of San Miguel, as well as two $1,000 donations, one from Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 403 and another from Bruce Gibson for Supervisor.

The district includes Atascadero, Pozo, California Valley and a portion of Templeton.