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Local News

Incumbents Drawing Big Money as June Primary Nears

Challengers started out strong, but have been outpaced by current office holders

The challengers in several local races started fundraising strong, but the incumbents have pulled ahead in the months before the June 5 primary, according to the latest election finance reports.

Big money is being thrown around in the races for the three seats on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal raised $83,550 since March, bringing his total to $152,430 for the year even though he’s virtually unopposed.

Carbajal has received healthy checks from county union groups, and got a $10,000 contribution from super-donor Randall Van Wolfswinkel, who put about $700,000 into the 2009 City of Santa Barbara election to back the building heights initiative and supportive candidates.

Carbajal also got $10,000 from Douglas Emmett Investments’ Dan Emmett, a Santa Monica real estate mogul, according to the county Elections Office.

His former challenger, Carole Lieff of Santa Barbara, moved to Montana and announced she was dropping out of the race. Her name will still appear on the ballot because her decision was made after the candidate lists were finalized.

The Third District supervisorial seat is a rematch of the 2008 race, with incumbent Doreen Farr once again being challenged by Santa Ynez businessman Steve Pappas

Santa Ynez Valley Journal Publisher Nancy Crawford-Hall has almost single-handedly funded Pappas’ war chest, with $110,000 given since January out of just $152,199. She also funded much of his 2008 election effort and the expensive, timely lawsuit challenging the outcome.

Farr has left Pappas far behind with her many contributions from political action committees, individuals and businesses, raising $185,145 since March for $206,430 total this year. She received $60,000 this year from Voters For a Better Government and $20,000 from the Government Committee of Santa Barbara.

Fourth District Supervisor Joni Gray raised $37,979 since March for a total of $88,770 this year, out-pacing challengers Peter Adam of Santa Maria and Joyce Howerton of Lompoc.

Adam, of Adam Brothers Family Farms, has a lot of North County business and agricultural community support, with $77,415 total, while Howerton, executive director of Santa Barbara Community Action Network, hasn’t yet filed her pre-election documents, which were due Thursday. So far, she has raised $2,100 with $2,000 of that from her husband, Alfred.

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation has been running the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s parcel tax measures, Measures W&X, and donated $10,000 to the cause. It’s the organization’s third campaign for the district, but the first one for a June election. The group raised another $40,000 since March from school foundations and parent teacher associations, the Santa Barbara Teachers Association and local businesses.

For Measure Y developer Mark Lee is footing the bill for all campaign expenses related to his bid to get a bridge approved for the Veronica Meadows housing project.

With redistricting, the new 19th Senate District includes Santa Barbara County and northern Ventura County and it’s a three-way race between Democrats Jason Hodge and Hannah-Beth Jackson and Republican Mike Stoker.

With open primaries this year, the top two vote-getters — regardless of party affiliation — will face off in the November general election.

The Democrats have taken that to heart, and both boast six-figure campaign incomes for the last two months.

Hodge has spent $338,416 this year and raised $195,013 just since March, according to the Secretary of State’s campaign finance documents.

Jackson spent almost half-a-million dollars and raised $218,024 in the last two months.

Meanwhile, Stoker’s two active fundraising entities have raised about $15,000 this year, and he’s spent about $21,000, though he still has $47,456 in the bank.

In the 37th Assembly District, which is similar to the 35th District occupied by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, the freshman legislator is taking on Republican Robin Walter. Williams raised about $92,000 since March and has spent just as much, still holding $153,318 in the bank.

Walter has not filed campaign finance disclosure documents with the Secretary of State, according to the state website.

Santa Barbara County will see one of the biggest redistricting changes in the new 24th Congressional District, made to replace the 23rd District that snaked along the Central Coast from Monterey County to Ventura County.

Running to represent the new 24th District are Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, who has represented the Central Coast since 1998; Republican former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria, Republican Chris Mitchum, a former actor and member of Republican Party Central Committees for both Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and law student Matthew Boutte of San Luis Obispo.

Capps and Maldonado have been spending aggressively, with $938,000 and $915,000, respectively, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Capps still has $1 million in the bank, to Maldonado’s $492,000.

Mitchum loaned $100,500 to himself, making up almost all of his earnings so far, while Boutte raised his $5,562 from individual donations.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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