Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Council Incumbents Do Nearly All the Campaign Fundraising||
By Jonathan Friedman
September 30, 2016 -- Two years after Santa Monica City Council campaign fundraising reached record levels, the 2016 edition is rather quiet.
Only five of the 10 candidates, including all four incumbents, reported raising any money at all, according to disclosure statements released this week that cover the filing period through September 24.
Incumbent Gleam Davis topped the list with $30,202 collected, including just over $17,000 from donors and a self-contribution of a little more than $13,000.
That total would have placed Davis in the sixth spot on the fundraising list for the late-September filing period in 2014.
By this point two years ago, Sue Himmelrich led the pack with nearly $100,000, including $90,000 from her own pocket. She would go on to spend a record $160,000 (“Himmelrich Spent $160,000 of Her Own Money to Win Santa Monica Council Seat,” February 3, 2015).
Slow-growth activist Armen Melkonians was the only challenger to report contributions. He received $3,700 from donors and added $5,000 of his own money for a total of $8,700.
The other four challengers are school board member Oscar de la Torre, Terence Later, Jon Mann, Mende Smith and James T. Watson.
Smith reported that she did not raise any money. The other four did not file a report, at least not electronically by the deadline. If they filed a paper version of the report, it would likely not appear on the City’s website until Monday.
An almost total lack of competitive challengers, at least from a fundraising standpoint, is rare in Santa Monica council elections. The Lookout could not find a similar example from recent history.
All four candidates in the race for three seats on the Santa Monica College (SMC) board have raised money. Topping the field is lone challenger Sion Roy, who received $50,542 from donors and contributed $2,900 of his own money.
Incumbent Margaret Quinones-Perez raised $24,747 and added $2,200 of her own money. Fellow incumbent Rob Rader took in $20,380 and added $4,000 from his pocket.
Susan Aminoff received $15,050 and loaned her campaign $5,000 in a bid for a fourth term on the SMC board.
There are four people running for two seats on the Rent Control Board. Two candidates reported raising money--appointed incumbent Anastasia Foster ($1,890 raised and $350 self-loan) and challenger Caroline Torosis ($2,575 raised).
Elected incumbent Chris Walton and challenger Elaine Golden-Gealer did not submit electronic disclosure reports by the deadline.
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