The Coast News Group

Supervisor race opponents dispute Abed fundraising claims

REGION — As the political season heats up, raising funds is critical for any campaign.

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed’s campaign is lauding his fundraising efforts, claiming he’s outraised his opponents so far for the seat in District 3 for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. The district covers Escondido, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Del Mar and Miramar, among other areas.

“The strong financial support my campaign has received demonstrates the community’s trust and support of my leadership, in District 3 and throughout San Diego County,” Abed said. “Our strongest lead isn’t just in dollars. It’s in the overwhelming lead we have with grassroots volunteers and supporters who’ve pledged their time and passion to help me restore integrity to the County Board of Supervisors.”

However, Abed’s competition is not sold on the proclamation and said the mayor’s “lead” in raising funds is just financial juggling.

According to Abed’s campaign, he raised $252,037 for the current cycle, while Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar was second with $105,134.

As for current Supervisor Dave Roberts, the incumbent raised $73,780 from July 1, 2015 through Dec. 31.

In addition, Abed also has the most “cash-on-hand, less unpaid bills” with $244,290 followed by Roberts ($176,254.96) and Gaspar ($66,818.33).

Jason Roe, a consultant for Gaspar’s campaign, and Gary Gartner, Roberts’ campaign manager, said Abed’s self-proclaimed lead is a result of transferring about $78,000 from his mayoral campaign and a loan of $75,000.

Roe said Gaspar has raised $30,000 more than Abed ($104,000 to $77,000), even though Gaspar announced her candidacy three months after Abed. The primary is June 7 and only the top two will move on to the general election unless one candidate receives 51 percent or more of the primary vote.

In addition, Roe said about $100,000 of Abed’s cash is designated for the general election, which precludes it being used for the primary. Roe said Abed only raised $52,000 without loans, which can be used toward the primary.

“In reality, Mayor Gaspar out-raised Abed,” Roe said. “In terms of spending in June, he has a negligible advantage. This is just another example of Sam Abed exaggerating … just as he has exaggerated his accomplishments as mayor of Escondido.”

Abed also touted his grassroots effort of building a strong base for more than 28 years. He is also scheduled to open his campaign’s headquarters in Escondido in the coming weeks.

Abed also took aim at Roberts’ troubles saying residents and businesses are concerned about the supervisor’s “scandals.”

San Diego County settled a lawsuit against Roberts for $310,000 last year after three former staffers accused the supervisor of running personal errands and working on campaign issues during county time. The board said they did not believe all the charges, but said a jury may not agree.

“The commanding lead I have in funds available to conduct my campaign is strong evidence that I am the best positioned to defeat the embattled incumbent Dave Roberts,” Abed said. “The Republican community trusts me not just to unite our party, but to appeal to independent voters and attract common sense Democrats, too,” Abed said.

Gartner also said Abed’s campaign has not shown any expenditures. In addition, according to KPBS, Roberts raised the most money in 2015 tallying $275,470 including a $75,000 loan from himself.

“When you look at Dave’s record and the issues that people really care about, Supervisor Roberts has consistently delivered results that matter and he will continue to do so now and in the years to come,” Gartner said.

This post has been altered since its original posting to reflect a change in the final paragraph’s quote.