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  • Writer's pictureNewsmakers with JR

Murillo and Martinez Dominate Fundraising

Less than two weeks before ballots go out, Cathy Murillo and Angel Martinez are winning the critical race for cash in the campaign for mayor, new contribution and spending reports show.

According to the latest reports, due Thursday:

-- Murillo, the Democratic Party-endorsed city council member, raised $54,185.99 since July 1, bringing her total contributions for the year to $145,076.99. Because she has spent little, she by far has the most cash on hand of any mayoral candidate: $124,469.82.

-- Martinez, the former President and CEO of Deckers Brands, who has captured the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, raised $70,560 in the last quarter, for a year-to-date total of $178,335, which includes an earlier $50,000 personal donation to himself; Martinez spent big on consultants over the past three months, however, and reported only a tiny cash-on-hand balance of $6,620.66.

-- Bendy White, the council member running with the support of Mayor Helene Schneider, was the last candidate to enter the race, but proved competitive during his first quarter of fundraising, with $52,194. He also loaned his campaign $40,000 of his own money, and reported a cash balance of $59,713.

-- Frank Hotchkiss, the council member endorsed by the Republican Party and the most conservative candidate in the contest, had an anemic quarter, as Martinez, a registered independent, cut into his natural base; Hotchkiss raised only #13,053, for a 2017 total of $55,002, and has $41,262 in the bank.

-- Hal Conklin, a former councilmember and brief-term ex-mayor, who has the endorsement of former Rep. Lois Capps, also did poorly since July, raising only $15,380 for a total of $23,730 in contributions; Conklin also loaned himself $20,000, in addition to a previous loan in the same amount, and reported $21,170 cash on hand,

What the?!? The biggest surprise in Martinez’s report was his inappreciable cash balance, a real-time number that political professionals look to first in finance reports.

By contrast, Murillo has conserved resources, perhaps benefitting from economies of scale stemming from her Democratic endorsement, given that her chief consultant, Mollie Culver, also manages the Democrats’ three candidates for district council seats.

Martinez began the race with far less name recognition than any of his rivals, all of whom previously have run and won citywide. So he poured money into the race over the past three months, investing heavily in TV, social media, fundraising, signs and consultants.

Since July, for example, he paid his San Francisco-based general campaign consultants, BMWL & Partners, more than $115,000, while nearly another $50,000 went to Terrain Consulting, the firm operated by his Santa Barbara strategist, Brian Robinson.

Both because of his personal wealth, and his now-demonstrated ability to raise money, the small cash balance does not necessarily mean trouble for Martinez, who has the resources to spend far more if he chooses.

“We are very happy with our fundraising plan,” Robinson told Newsmakers. “Angel’s campaign will continue to be funded through election day.”

Robinson also noted that while the cut-off date for the new quarterly reports was Sept. 23, the campaign this week, as required, also reported contributions received after that deadline - including $8,000 raised in one day, last Friday, $3,500 of it from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee.

You can search the complete campaign reports filed by the candidates, including for council, through the portal on the city’s website, by linking to it here.

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