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Election 2022: Campaign contributions for North County candidates

REGION — Many North County candidates seeking municipal office in the cities of Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido have reported financial contributions for their respective campaigns as required under state law. 

Every six months, candidates must file a Form 460 with the reporting period for each calendar year running from Jan. 1 through June 30 and July 1 through Dec. 31, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

In election years, candidates must file for the periods running from Jan. 1 through June 30, which must be submitted by Aug. 1. The other periods run from July 1 through Sept. 27 and be filed by Sept. 29, and from Sept. 25 through Oct. 22 and filed by Oct. 27.

The next reporting period runs from Oct. 23 through Dec. 31 and must be submitted to the correct municipality by Jan. 31, 2023.

Carlsbad

Mayoral candidate Councilmember Keith Blackburn entered his race against challenger Mike Curtin with a war chest of $130,282.55. George and Meryl Young each donated $3,100 to Blackburn’s campaign — the maximum for mayoral candidates. Fred and Suzanne Williamson each donated $1,000.

Curtin hasn’t reported any donations since his campaign committee wasn’t approved until after the filing period.

In District 1, Melanie Burkholder raised $20,566.82, spent $4,634.26 and has an ending balance of $15,932.56. Burkholder’s maximum $900 donors include herself, husband Shawn Burkholder, Kristine and William Sheffler, Don Oliphant, Gail Austin and Greg Schneider.

According to financial disclosures, Sam Ward contributed $15,000 to himself on Dec. 27, 2021. Also, a $10,000 loan from himself was recorded on Dec. 27 for a total of $25,000.

Ward’s most prominent donors for the Jan. 1 through June 30 period and maxing out at the city’s $900 limit for individual contributions for a district race, were Vince Hall, chief government relations officer for Feeding America in Washington, D.C.; the Democratic Club of Carlsbad and Oceanside; Katherine Morehouse; Re-Elect Senator Toni Atkins; and Laura Drelleshak for $900; while next largest donors are Hope Nelson, Nora Jaffe each with $500.

Ward’s expenditures totaled $12,030.03 and have an ending cash balance of $33,462.13.

As for the other D1 candidates — Tony Bona, Cory Geigart, Allen Manzano and DeeDee Trejo-Rowlett — none filed any disclosures for the first reporting period.

In D3, incumbent Councilmember Priya Bhat-Patel raised $37,767.14, spent $30,077.66 and has an ending cash balance of $46,581.07 in her race against Carlsbad Unified School District Trustee Ray Pearson.

Bhat-Patel’s largest donors of $900 include Jimmy Ukegawa, Renee Wailes, Elect More Democrats PAC, Steffanie Strathdee, 314 Action Victory Fund, Terra Lawson-Remer for Board of Supervisors, Stephanie Saathoff, Democratic Club of Carlsbad and Oceanside, and Allison Cormack, a council member from Palo Alto.

Additionally, Bhat-Patel received $800 from four Republic Services employees, which raised eyebrows on social media due to the trash company’s spotty service rollout in the city over the past several months.

Pearson, meanwhile, raised $25,178.95, spent $8,447.26 and has an ending balance of $16,731.69. Those who have donated $900 include Benson Berro, John Sanders, Dane and Luisa Pearson, Ed Neff and Arthur Black.

Candidates for the two other citywide races of clerk and treasurer did not report any contributions for the period.

Del Mar

None of the candidates for the Del Mar City Council or Del Mar Union School District board of trustees have filed their contribution statements.

Encinitas

Since the last election update, two additional candidates have signed up for the mayor’s race. Sandra Van Gilder and Cole Ragland joined Cindy Cremona, Michael Blobe, Councilmember Tony Kranz and Jeff Morris on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Of the candidates for city’s mayoral candidates that have filed a Form 460 campaign statement, Morris leads all candidates in monetary contributions and number of donors while Cremona holds a slight lead in total donations collected to date, which includes loans received. 

Blobe, Ragland and Van Gilder had not filed as of Aug. 22.

Cremona has received $4,725 in donations since the start of the year and loaned her campaign $11,125 for a total of $15,850. Some of her larger donors – those that have donated $250 – are names that voice opinions in the housing conversations in city chambers. Others include Randy Wastal, CEO and president of Marino Construction Inc., Denise DeMan, CEO of Bench International, and former CEO of Strelitzia Ventures, Robert Hemphill.

The Morris for Mayor campaign, to date, has raised $10,533.68 in donations and loaned his campaign $5,000 for a total of $15,553.68. Some of the more significant contributors, $250, include Greg Daul, Tamarra Daul, Tracy DeBerry, owner of ASAP Drain Guys & Plumbing, Steve Es of Dream Homes Inc., Level 10’s Jerry Kirkland and Gary Stuber at Moonlight Glassing.

For the filing period ending June 30, Kranz reported $10,292 in total contributions. Some of his donations of $250 came from the Dodge family, council members Joy Lyndes and Kellie Hinze, Jeremy Blakespear, Lizbeth Ecke and Paul Ecke III. 

District 3

Incumbent Councilmember Joy Lyndes will defend her seat against long-time community advocate Julie Thunder. Thunder, so far, has around double the contributions collected than Lyndes.

To date, Thunder has received $24,038 in contributions. Some of the contributions of $200 or $250 came from former Traffic and Public Safety Commissioner Dave Hutchinson, former San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and former Encinitas fire chief and council member Mark Muir.

Lyndes has received a total of $13,634 in contributions since the beginning of the year. Some notable donors include council members Kranz, Mosca and Hinze, Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, Jeremy Blakespear and the 2020 Blakespear for Mayor campaign.

District 4

Stacie Davis, Bruce Ehlers, Pamela Redela and Dan Vaughn are in the race for the District 4 seat, currently held by Deputy Mayor Joe Mosca – who is not seeking re-election to the City Council.

Ehlers is the only candidate to have reported campaign funds on file. Since June 30, Ehlers has received nearly $15,100 – having spent $106 so far. One of his highest donated amounts is $1,000, which he listed as from himself.

Some of his major donors include several faculty from universities in San Diego, Slater-Price, Gary Atkinson, CFO at Lpath, North County Advocates Board Member Pat Bleha, Babala DeMasters, Hal Demasyers, and Neil Hokanson, who moderated the mayoral debate held by the VFW earlier this summer.

In the Encinitas Union School District, residents may vote for three of the next board member prospects: Emily Andrade, Thomas Angel, Andre Johnson, Raquel Pfieffer, Justin Ried and Marla Stitch.

The two incumbents are Stitch and Andrade, with Pfeiffer appointed to the EUSD school board less than one month ago at a special meeting on July 27.

Johnson is a parent in the school district, Ried works in technology marketing, and Angel is a retired physicist — the latter have yet to file candidate statements.

Escondido

In the race for mayor, challenger Dane White has raised the most money, with $19,793.26 in total contribution received. Of that amount, $11,043.26 came from donations and $8,750 from loans.

White’s most considerable contributions include $1,750 from June Cutter’s campaign when she ran for State Assembly District 77 and another $1,750 from Harvest Hills, the proposed 550-estate home development in the San Pasqual Valley. White also received $1,249.22 from Scott Shumway of East Pleasant Grove, Utah and $1,000 from Kendal White of Escondido.

Mayor Paul McNamara has raised $11,530 with $5,030 from donations and another $5,000. He also received $1,500 in non-monetary contributions from the MCRD Museum Foundation, for which McNamara serves as the executive director.

McNamara’s biggest contributions so far include $1,000 each from Jeffrey Epp and George Weir, both Escondido, and another $1,000 from Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear’s 2020 mayoral campaign.

In the race for District 1, incumbent Councilmember Consuelo Martinez has raised $11,581.88, with the majority coming from donations and $50 from a non-monetary contribution. Martinez has received more than 120 donations ranging between $15 to $500. 

So far, her opponent, Michael Johnson Palomares, has received $480.24 in campaign donations.

In District 2, Councilmember Joe Garcia has raised $1,620 in campaign donations, while his opponent, Jeff Griffith, has received $6,100 in contributions so far, with $5,100 from donations and another $1,000 from loans.

None of the school board candidates have filed Form 460s. 

Oceanside

In the highly contested District 1 race for the Oceanside City Council, current Oceanside Unified School Board Trustee Eric Joyce leads in campaign donations at $27,329.78 with an additional $4,550 in loans. 

Joyce’s highest donations include $4,400 from Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath’s campaign plus $2,590.98 from Mary Liesegang, another $2,590.98 from Roger Liesegang and $2,393.06 from Susan Liesegang. 

Joyce also received $2,000 from the Communication Workers of America Political Action Fund and $1,000 each from Steve Burrell of Oceanside, Laurie Girand of San Juan Capistrano and the Democratic Club of Carlsbad-Oceanside.

Darin Selnick follows in campaign donations at $18,444.72 but has so far received $43,000 in loans, giving him the lead in overall contributions among his opponents for District 1.

Top donations for Selnick include $5,131.41 from Arleigh Dotson of La Jolla and $1,500 from Sanjay Govil of Potomac, Maryland. He also received $1,047 from Kurt Pfitzner of Dadeville, Alabama, $1,000 from Robert Hartwell of Lake Ridge, Virginia and another $1,000 from Pete Hegseth’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” special.

Selnick, a retired Air Force officer who served as senior advisor to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been a guest on FOX News before speaking about veterans issues.

The majority of Selnick’s donations came from out of state. According to his website, he has lived in Oceanside for over 10 years.

Incumbent candidate, Councilmember Kori Jensen, has received $17,049 in campaign donations without any loans. Her most significant contributions include $4,900 from Marc Adams, owner of Encinitas Surfboards, and another $4,900 from Mary Matava of Cardiff by the Sea. 

Most of Jensen’s other donations mostly came from residents of Oceanside, like Pat Kirchwehm, who donated $2,500, and Ingo Hentschel, who donated $1,000. Jensen also received $1,000 from Cameron Corners Inc., a convenience store stock corporation headquartered in Oceanside.

District 1 candidates Alvin McGee and David Turgeon have not yet filed their Form 460s.

In District 2, Daniel Dominguez leads with $3,974 in campaign donations and has received $4,000 in loans. Dominguez received $1,000 each from Steve Burrell of Oceanside and the Utility Workers Union of America. He also received $600 from Thomas Dominguez and $500 from Rob Howard of Oceanside. 

Dominguez’s challenger, former Fire Chief Rick Robinson, so far doesn’t have any donations but has received $500 in loans.

None of the Oceanside school board candidates have submitted Form 460s.

San Marcos

The San Marcos Municipal Code sets campaign contribution limits much lower than that of neighboring cities, with a per-contribution limit of $250 for individuals and $500 for political parties and controlled committees. 

Incumbent Mayor Rebecca Jones has received $66,258.89 for her re-election campaign and $20,000 in loans. Recognizable names among her upper-limit donors included Supervisor Jim Desmond and San Dieguito Union School District Trustee Michael Allman. 

None of her donors have given more than $250 total.

Councilmember Randy Walton, current District 2 representative and Jones’ mayoral opponent, has raised a total of $19,603 and $14,800 in loans. The most significant contributors to his campaign are Shona Borevitz, donating $500 in total, and San Marcos Promise executive director Lisa Stout, giving $350 in total.

In the District 2 race, candidate Mike Sannella has raised the most funds with a total of $8,035 in contributions and a $10,000 loan. These included $250 donations from San Diego County Supervisors Jim Desmond and Joel Anderson.

Fellow District 2 candidate Jay Petrek has raised $1,374 in addition to a $5,000 loan. His top contributors were San Marcos resident Carl Crider and Kristen Walton of Walton Law Firm, giving $250 each.

District 2 candidates Abreem Ahmad and Lionel Saulsberry have yet to submit their Form 460s.

None of the San Marcos Unified School District candidates have filed Form 460s.

Solana Beach

None of the Solana Beach City Council candidates or the Solana Beach School District Board of Trustees have filed contribution statements. 

In the high-stakes race for the San Dieguito Union High School District’s Area 5 seat, incumbent Trustee Julie Bronstein has raised a total of $16,134, including a $1,200 loan. Her top contributions include $2,500 from La Jolla attorney Morgan Dene Oliver and $1,500 from 38th State Senate candidate and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespeare. 

Critics hope to see Bronstein, elected to the San Dieguito school board via special election in 2021, unseated by challenger Phan Anderson. A district parent, Anderson, had reported only a $322 loan as of late June. 

All other school board candidates, including those in the highly anticipated Area 1 race, have yet to file their contribution statements.

As of Aug. 1, most candidates have filed campaign finance disclosure statements for Vista City Council and the Vista Unified School Board. The latest donation period covers from January to June. 

Vista

Mayor 

Deputy Mayor John Franklin, a current City Council member, collected $46,305 in contributions and spent $13,349. Some of his top donors include $500 from both Marica Thorne and Robert Thorne or California West Communities (which has applied to 46 single families on Santa Fe Avenue in Vista); $500 from District 4 candidate Vincente Hinojosa; $500 from Warner Lusardi of Lusardi Construction; $500 from Candy Kaiser; $500 from Clifford Kaiser; $500 from a Newport Beach investor. 

Keri Desmond and San Diego County Supervisor James Desmond donated $250.

Though Franklin has received several $500 and $250 donations, a notable amount has been under $50 donations. 

The next candidate is Cipriano Vargas, current president of the Vista Unified School District board. Vargas has received $37,418 in contributions and spent $28,905. His highest donations include $500 from the Re-Elect Senator Atkins campaign; $500 from Jay Bell, an executive at TELACU construction management; $500 from Milton Sack; $500 from David Rice, an executive at Pricesmart; $500 from Gerald Singleton; $500 from Terra Lawson-Remer for Board of Supervisor campaign 2024; and Kathleen Boyle donated $425. 

Many of his donations have been under $100. 

As of the last week of August, John Joseph Aguilera has not filed a disclosure form. 

District 1 

Neither District 1 candidates Corinna Contreras nor Christa Medeiros have filed campaign finance disclosure statements. 

District 4 

Running in District 4, Vincente Hinojosa has raised $6,944 and spent $1,552. Those who have donated $500 to his campaign include Tim Stehr; Bert Jones, an executive at Frazer Ltd; Blair Mettee; Lisa Nucci of Nucci’s Italian Cafe; Michael Nucci; and Sam Nucci of Nucci’s Italian Cafe. 

Armen Kurdian has raised nearly  $11,000 and spent $9,184. Those who have donated $500 to the Kurdian campaign include Delores Chavez, Peter Czajkowski, Jonathan Fairchild of Telos Capital Management, Arizona resident Bernadine Haydon, Phil Pace of Phil’s BBQ, Marco Sessa of Sudberry Properties; and Tom Tamar, CEO of Citywide Protection Services. 

He’s also received $150 from John Hemmerling, former San Diego assistant attorney and candidate for sheriff, and  $250 from VUSD candidate Jennifer Telles. 

Dan O’Donnell has received $10,765 in donations and spent $9,115. His top contributions include $500 from Laurie Girand; $400 from  Isaac Rodrigue, a TCWGlocal account manager; $500 from the Democratic Club of Carlsbad-Oceanside; and $500 from the Vista Firefighters PAC.

Vista Unified School District

In the race for the open seats in areas 3 and 2 for the Vista Unified School District Board of Education, current member Debbie Morton and educator Carla Rivera-Cruz have not filed donation forms. Area 2 candidate Rena Marrocco has donated about $200 to her campaign. 

Martha Alvarado, a current school board member, has raised more than  $10,500 and spent  $678 on the campaign. Some of her top donations include $2,500 from the Laborer’s International Union of North American Local 89 PAC; $500 from the Democratic Club of Carlsbad-Oceanside. 

Vargas has also donated $150 to Alvarado’s campaign.  

Telles, a parent and business owner in the district, has raised nearly – $18,000 and spent $3,974. Her top donors include $1,000 from CJ Growers Inc.; $1,000 from Robert Gass of Medford, Oregon; $500 from Gloria Barnes; $500 from Amber Cervantes; $500 from Deputy Mayor Franklin; $700 from Sadie Mayhugh; $350 from Brian Maryott. 

Steve Puterski, Samantha Nelson, Laura Place and Jacqueline Covey all contributed to this report. 

2 comments

steve333 August 31, 2022 at 4:51 pm

You can tell by the contributions to Kranz and Lyndes that there is a circle jerk going on there.
Get rid of both and put Encinitas back in the hands of people who actually care more about Encinitas than power and money.
Julie Thunder for D3
Bruce Ehlers for D4
Anyone But Kranz for Mayor
Matt Gunderson for State Senate

Christie August 31, 2022 at 2:15 pm

So, Cindy ordered her signs and got her campaign in gear out the gate. Jeff waited to do anything until after reporting. Makes sense.

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