Senate candidates raise big money

DOWNEY − With springtime in the air, candidates vying for the 32nd State Senate district are out on the campaign trail in full force and new fundraising reports indicate the race is heating up. According to financial statements released on Monday, former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza outraised his competitors, garnering $42,845 between the period of Jan. 1-March 17.

Pre-election financial statements filed on March 24 reveal Mendoza’s campaign committee continued to receive contributions from mostly political action committees and small contributor committees based in Sacramento in addition to small donations from citizens living in and around the 32nd senate district area.

Some of Mendoza’s biggest supporters included: IBEW Local 11 PAC of electrical workers ($3,000); CA State Council of Service Employees ($8,200); CDF Firefighters Small Contributor PAC ($2,500); The Coca-Cola Company ($1,000); Time Warner Cable ($2,000); CA Association of Highway Patrolmen ($3,000); California Nurses Association PAC ($1,000); and Pechanga Band of Mission Indians, which has now given $9,400 towards Mendoza’s campaign.

With expenditures reaching to $140,044, Mendoza’s campaign utilized funds on everything from campaign literature and paraphernalia to office expenses and staff luncheons. However, the majority of the money -- $67,763, in fact -- was spent on campaign consultants, most notably SG & A Campaigns, which runs campaigns for high-profile Democrats.

After three consecutive terms in the state Assembly, Mendoza is hoping to return to Sacramento this fall. With the pre-primary endorsement of the California Democratic Party, the Artesia native has received endorsements from representatives in nearly every city in the overwhelming democratic district.

Touting the support of over 200 elected officials from both parties, Republican opponent Councilman Mario Guerra of Downey is hoping his bipartisan campaign will lead to victory in June’s primary.

Guerra garnered $34,687 in monetary contributions, mostly comprised of small donations from local voters and business owners, including: CalMet Services, Inc. ($1,600); Sacramento-based Grow Elect ($4,100); Bicycle Casino owner Haig Kelegian ($1,000); IBA-Burbank, Glendale Pasadena Association ($1,000); Redondo Beach-based LQI Management LLC ($2,100); Justin Schneir, a partner of SGB-NIA Insurance Brokers ($1,000); and Gregory Welch, vice president of Risher Mortuary ($1,000).

Guerra, who was elected to the Downey City Council in 2006 and now serves as president of Independent Cities Association, spent $144,186 in the first quarter of 2014. Expenditures included campaign consultants and salaries for campaign workers while nearly $26,000 alone was directed towards polling and survey research.

The March statements indicate the Guerra campaign now has $74,533 cash on hand, far less than Mendoza who still has $584,000 in his coffers.

Dr. Irella Perez of Whittier pulled in $14,287 in contributions, mostly from individuals or groups tied to education, according to her financial reports.

Perez’s financial support included: Ana Maria Moseley ($2,000); Cristina Garcia for Assembly 2014 ($4,100); Dina Lynn Flores ($1,000); Ian Calderon for Assembly 2014 ($4,100); The Network for Educational Access, LLC ($250); and Celso Ruiz, superintendent of Holtville Unified School District ($500).

An educator for 20 years, Perez is a trustee on the Whittier City School District board of education and the principal of Bennett Kew Elementary School in Inglewood. Reports indicate the Perez campaign spent $26,362 over the last three months on fundraising events, accounting services, and campaign literature from Sacramento-based Urban Art Litho. Perez’s campaign now has $88,375 cash on hand.

On June 3, the two top vote-getters of either party in the primary will face off in the general election on Nov. 4.

The next official campaign finance reporting deadline is May 22. These financial reports will include the contributions received and expenditures paid by each campaign between the period of March 18 - May 17.

The newly-drawn 32nd Senate district incorporates the communities of Artesia, Bellflower, Buena Park, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Hacienda Heights, Hawaiian Gardens, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, Lakewood, Los Nietos, Montebello, Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Rose Hills, Santa Fe Springs and South Whittier.



Published: March 27, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 50