The $422,000 that nine candidates spent to win two seats up for election on the West Hollywood City Council last year might have seemed expensive. But that turns out to be peanuts compared with what candidates for the Los Angeles County 3rd District supervisor’s seat are going to have to shell out for the June primary election.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver has rejected voluntary spending limits and said he was prepared to put at least $300,000 of his own money into the campaign. The voluntary spending limit would have limited Shriver to spending no more than seventy five cents per voter on his campaign for the 3rd District seat, or a total of $1,479,000. If he had accepted the spending limit, the independently wealthy nephew of President John F. Kennedy would have been able to accept up to $1,500 from any individual donor.
Shriver’s rejection of the spending limit frees his opponents from that spending limit. However, a candidate who, like Shriver, donates $300,000 to his campaign is limited to accepting no more than $300 from a donor. If Shriver follows through with a $300,000 donation to his campaign, his opponents will see their donation limits raised. For example, a candidate who donates no more than $50,000 of his own money can accept an individual donation of up to $15,000 when facing an opponent who spends $300,000 in personal funds.
While Shriver’s rejection of spending limits means no other candidates are bound by them, their real problem will be raising money for what is likely to be an expensive race. Bill Carrick, Shriver’s campaign strategist, told City News Service that most candidates in the Los Angeles mayoral race last year spent about $5 million. “We’re in that same media market,” Carrick said.
West Hollywood City Council member John Duran, in a press release issued today, said he had raised over $130,000 to fund his quest for the 3rd District seat, now held by Zev Yaroslavsky, who is stepping down because of term limits. That indicated Duran has stepped up his fund raising, given that campaign finance filings as of Dec. 31 showed him having raised only $54,000. At the Dec. 31 filing deadline former state legislator Sheila Kuehl, seen as Shriver’s major opponent, had raised $429,000. The next round of campaign contribution disclosures is due Monday. Others who are running are former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich, county activist Eric Preven, Doug Fay of Santa Monica, Yuval Kremer of Los Angeles and Rudy Melendez of North Hollywood.
The 3rd District has a population of about 1.9 million people and encompasses West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and other west side towns and unincorporated areas.