Recent campaign finance disclosures from a number of candidates running for office in Humboldt County show that the county races are heating up fast, with many candidates breaking the $100,000 barrier, and in Eureka candidates who voluntarily capped their contributions at $500 ended up being the ones bringing in the most cash.
There is much riding in this election for Eureka and the Board of Supervisors, which is evident in the amount of money special interests and supporters are flooding into the races. For one, whomever sits on the Board of Supes over the next four years will likely be finally updating the road map of Humboldt County development -- the General Plan -- in that time, ending a 12-year long standoff that has fractured this community, perhaps. And for Eureka, with a city on the verge of insolvency, with most of its administrative echelon fleeing for greener pastures and with the prospect of two massive developments further challenging already strained infrastructure, the next council must figure out how to cauterize a budget bleeding to death without paralyzing services.
The following is but a taste of the money game so far. Look for a more in-depth story in next week's Journal.
Incumbent Larry Glass raised only a quarter of what his opponent and political newcomer Marian Brady raised this cycle. He raised a total of $5,169 in cash and spent $1,499. Of the 14 contributions of $100 or more, only one was $500 or more. His largest contributors are the Eureka Firefighters PAC ($500), Donna Brown, a Eureka Real Estate Broker ($475), and Thomas Preble, Retired of Eureka ($450).
Newcomer Marian Brady raised the most amount of cash of all Eureka candidates, despite a self-imposed contribution cap of $500. She raised a total of $19,440, all of which she is sitting on for the moment. She did not spend a dime spent $14,990 this cycle. Of the 43 contributions of $100 or more, more than half were $500. In fact, it would take a long sentence to document each of the 23 donors who gave $500, but it includes Kramer Investment Corporation, TJS Leasing and Holding, the McBeth Family and Harvey Harper Company.
Ron Kuhnel also raised about a quarter of what his opponent, Michael Newman, made. He raised a total of $4,384, took out a loan for $1,685, and spent $4,928. Of the 17 contributions of $100 or more, only one was $500 or more. His largest donors are the Eureka Firefighters PAC ($500), Thomas Preble ($350), and Betty Kuhnel ($250).
Michael Newman, a political newcomer, made impressive gains this period despite a voluntary $500 contribution cap, raking in $16,497. He spent $7,792 of that cash. Of the 42 contributions he received of $100 or more, more than half (26) were $500. As with Brady, he shared a large number of similar large donors.
Xandra Manns was not required to file a disclosure form.
The cash in Eureka clearly favored the Marina Center candidates this time around. Peter LaVallee, a Marina Center moderate, took in mostly $100 contributions, raised a total of $5,132.91, took out a $500 loan, and spent $3,122.81. Of the 27 contributions he received of $100 or more, not one was $500 or more. His largest donors are Thomas Preble ($325) and four donors at $250: Marion Amber, Robert Fasic, James Tenney, and Roy Greshaber.
Frank Jager, a strong Marina Center supporter, clearly dominated the finance game this period, but unlike the other two candidates pledging to cap contributions at $500, he twice took contributions of $1,000. He raised a total of $16,616, took out a $480 loan, and spent $9,229. Of the 41 contributions of $100 or more, he got 21 that were $500 or more. His largest donors are Amy's Delight and Jackie and John McBeth of O&M Industries (both $1,000).
Marshall Spalding was not required to turn in a disclosure form.
Fourth District Supervisorial
Incumbent Bonnie Neely continues to lag behind her competitor in funding, but not by much. Much the criticism levied toward Neely by her opponent, Virginia Bass, involves the amount of cash she raised outside of the county. Only four of the 91 documented contributions came from outside Humboldt, three of which are elected officials she works with. She has raised a total of $139,289 -- $55,145 this cycle -- and spent a total of $112,546. She received an $8,000 contribution from Bill Pierson, making her largest donors overall Blue Lake Rancheria ($20,000), Bill Pierson again (this time through Sedgefield Properties for $18,000), and Dana Point-based MPDSE, Inc. ($10,000).
Virginia Bass continues to be the leader in terms of money raised throughout this election and has also taken the award for biggest spender, having raised $157,719 in cash -- $43,052 this round alone. Unlike Neely, who took several contributions exceeding $5,000, Bass received a large amount of contributions in the $2,000 to $3,000 range, mainly from Eureka-based businesses. To date she has spent $144,774 -- $44,633 this round. Her largest donors are the Humboldt County Deputy Sherrif's Organization PAC ($4,000), and Russ Cattle Co., Eureka Readymix, and Harvey Harper Co. for $3,000.
Fifth District Supervisorial
Ryan Sundberg continues to dominate in the fundraising game, and based on many of his contributions this time around, donors are doubling, sometimes tripling the amount they initially invested. He has raised a total of $143,327 -- $47,842 this cycle -- and spent $115,407 overall, with $19,698 this cycle. His largest donors are Blue Lake Rancheria ($5,000), C&K Industries, Shaw and Peterson Insurance, and Lundblade and Company ($4,500), plus a number of $3,000 contributions.
Pat Cleary has been struggling to match pace with Ryan Sundberg's fundraising and spending. He has raised a total of $90,434 -- $26,453 this cycle. He has spent a total of $95,824 -- $24,212 this cycle, and has accurred $18,799 in expenses. His largest donors are Blue Lake Rancheria ($20,000), Sedgefield Properties ($10,000), and the Humboldt County Deputy Sherriff's Organization PAC ($9,500).
Paul Gallegos continues to lead the pack in overall debt and loans received. He has raised a total of $97,255, taken out $36,000 in loans, spent $136,555, and accrued $51,678 in debt. This cycle he raised $21,470 and spent $25,770. His largest donors are attorney Jennifer Keller ($3,500), dentist Kerisa Elloway ($2,960), and Eureka-based GSH One Enterprises, LLC. ($2,700).
Allison Jackson is doing what she can to match the amount of money Gallegos is pumping into his campaign. She has raised a total of $85,072 -- $31,147 this cycle -- has taken out $10,000 in loans, spent a total of $112,740, and accrued $12,258 in debt. Her largest donors are the Humboldt County Deputy Sherriff's Organization PAC ($10,500), Harry Hardin, owner of Eel River Waste Disposal ($5,825), and Kenneth Quigley ($4,015).
Mari Wilson hasn't been a big spender this election, and that trend didn't change this cycle. She continues to subsidize much of her own campaign, having personally dropped $7,600 into the race while her husband, Craig Wilson, tossed in $10,000. To date, she has raised a total of $31,960 -- $8,693 this time around. She has spent $24,400 total -- $2,578 this cycle.
Johanna Rodoni has nearly raised $100,000 in a race that tends to be a shoo-in most of the time. She has raised a total of $97,311 -- $39,540 this cycle, and spent a total of $85,119 -- $29,705 this cycle. Her largest donors are Harry Hardin, owner of Eel River Waste Disposal ($4,075), David and Michelle Bushnell ($1,500), and Sequoia Gas Co. ($1,350).