Friday, October 28, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle: San Francisco Mayor's race fundraising results

Ed Lee leads in fundraising among mayoral hopefuls

 
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The campaign money keeps pouring in for Mayor Ed Lee, who has raised - and spent - more than $1.24 million in his effort to hang on to the job he was appointed to in January.

According to campaign finance reports released Thursday, that's nearly double the $623,000 that Supervisor David Chiu, the second-leading fundraiser, has taken in this year for his campaign for mayor. City Attorney Dennis Herrera has collected $534,000, while former Supervisor Bevan Dufty has raised $499,000 and state Sen. Leland Yee $493,000.

But with the Nov. 8 election less than two weeks away, most of that money already has been spent, leaving the candidates to concentrate on how best to use the cash they have left.

Chiu, for example, leads all contenders with $321,000 in the bank on Oct. 22, the closing date for the latest reports. Former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier had $192,000, while Supervisor John Avalos had $154,000 for the final push.

"We're exactly in the position we wanted to be," said Addisu Demissie, a spokesman for Chiu. "The only number that counts now is how much you have left, and we have the resources to get our message out now that people are listening."

Other consultants dismiss the importance of having lots of cash on hand, saying campaign money needs to be spent, especially when people have been voting by mail since early this month.

Lee's campaign, for example, was essentially broke on Oct. 22, with $197,000 in the bank and $209,000 in unpaid bills, and Yee was also slightly in the red. But with contributions coming in every day, that's not a problem, said Lee spokesman Tony Winnicker.

"Anyone who has very much money in the bank is foolish," he said. "We've said all along that we'll spend money as we raise it, and that's what we've been doing."

Contributions aren't the only money being used in the mayor's race. Every candidate but Lee and Public Defender Jeff Adachi is taking public financing from the city, ranging, for the 11 major contenders, from $683,000 for Herrera down to $230,000 for Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting. The city already has paid out $4.2 million, with more to come.

Lee's campaign is also getting a boost, wanted or not, from three independent expenditure committees that have raised more than $768,000.

Donors to those committees, which are barred from direct contact with campaigns they support, can give an unlimited amount. Contributions to candidates are limited to $500. San Franciscans for Jobs and Good Government, for example, raised $569,000, with contributions that included $50,000 from John Wadsworth Jr., an investment banker with Morgan Stanley; $30,000 from SEIU Healthcare Workers West; and $25,000 each from Mark Pincus, CEO of the online gaming company Zynga, and David Lamond, a senior executive with Artis Capital Management.

The most controversial independent committee for Lee, the SF Neighbor Alliance, has spent $191,000 and has $137,000 in unpaid bills. Haiyi Hotels Worldwide, which has five hotels in San Francisco, has given the group $30,000.

The committee has come under attack for its controversial attempt to help Chinatown voters mark their ballots for Lee, an effort Lee's campaign said should stop.

Lee also is the target of an independent expenditure committee backing Yee for mayor.

The union-oriented City Residents Opposing Ed Lee for Mayor has raised $415,000 to send out a flood of mailers slamming Lee on Yee's behalf. While the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers has put more than $250,000 into the campaign, the electrical workers union gave $25,000 during the most recent reporting period, and both PG&E and the California Medical Association contributed $15,000.

Many of the campaigns are preparing for the final push to election day.

"We've locked in our TV and direct mail," said Jim Stearns, consultant for the Yee campaign. "Now we're concentrating on having the biggest grassroots effort we can."

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