ENCINITAS — San Diego’s biggest landlord is also the largest contributor to Mayor Catherine Blakespear’s state senate campaign, making her the only Democratic candidate in this year’s election to receive a donation (of any size) from the company’s principal owner and longtime Republican donor.
After contributing thousands of dollars to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Gerry Ranglas, CEO of R&V Management — the owner of at least 8,000 apartments in San Diego County — has substantially backed Blakespear over her GOP counterpart, Matt Gunderson, in the 38 State Senate District race.
In four donations between Oct. 2021 and Feb. 2022, Ranglas gave a total of $9,800 — the limit for individual donors — to Blakespear’s campaign for the primary and general elections, according to campaign filings.
Gunderson received a $1,000 donation from Ranglas in early May.
For Ranglas, owner of the largest property management and real estate investment company in San Diego County, the difference in financial contributions boils down to housing and personal relationships.
“I’ve known her parents for a long time; I’ve known her a long time,” Ranglas told The Coast News.
Ranglas, who sold Poseidon Restaurant Del Mar to the Blakespear family before repurchasing the location in 1983, said a personal relationship with the mayor and her support of affordable housing policies convinced him to donate.
“Catherine is a huge proponent of housing in the city of Encinitas, especially affordable housing because the coastal communities tend to be populated with expensive rents and expensive lifestyles, and there’s no room for affordable housing,” Ranglas said.
And the Rancho Santa Fe businessman’s family members and associates have followed suit.
Ranglas’ wife, Jeannie, a retiree, also donated $4,900 to Blakespear’s campaign coffers in the June primary. In 2021, Scott Dale, president of R&V Management, and Dennis Szuberla, CFO of R&V Management, each donated $2,500 to Blakespear’s campaign coffers, according to the Secretary of State’s campaign finance filing and disclosure system.
R&V Management leadership and relatives donated nearly $20,000, proving the most significant contribution to the mayor’s campaign by individuals from the same company.
“The contributions from Mr. Ranglas and other traditionally Republican donors show the bipartisan nature of Mayor Blakespear’s campaign, unlike Republican Matt Gunderson, whose support comes primarily from other used car dealers and right-wing extremists like Newt Gingrich,” said Kevin Sabellico, Blakespear’s campaign manager.
R&V Management isn’t the only real estate and development firm to donate to Blakespear. The mayor of Encinitas has also received donations from Adam Robinson, CEO of RPG Realty ($4,900); Jon Corn, CEO of N4FL Development ($4,900); and Peter Curry, managing director at Cushman & Wakefield ($4,900).
Jay Wierenga, the communications director for the Fair Political Practices Commission, explained the donation limits and rules for campaign contributions.
“A primary is a cycle, a general is a cycle,” Wierenga told The Coast News. “So, someone can contribute to the limit on both… One can give for a primary, or a general, at any time.”
While no rule prevents colleagues and business shareholders from backing the same political candidate, “some things depend on how much control/input each has,” Wierenga said.
When asked about any connection to the property manager or related developments of one of the top donors to the Blakespear campaign, Sabellico said that more than 1,200 contributors had supported the Encinitas mayor.
“The majority of donors are people who live in the 38th District and have given small amounts of less than $100,” Sabellico said. “These contributors believe in Mayor Blakespear and know she will be a State Senator who puts residents first.”
In 2020, Ranglas’ company was one of the top contributors in opposition to California’s Proposition 21, donating $1.1 million to help defeat the initiative to expand local rent control. Also contributing to the No on 21 effort were real estate giants Essex Property Trust, Equity Residential, AvalonBay Communities, Jackson Square Properties and Prometheus Real Estate Group.