AD-73 Surprise: Petrilla Leads Fundraising
Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 1, 2013
In a surprise development, campaign finance reports show Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Jesse Petrilla leads the pack in fundraising in the 73rd Assembly District race. The narrative in AD-73 had generally been that Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Steve Baric, the immediate past Vice Chairman of the California Republican Party, would be the top fundraiser in AD-73 and that Petrilla would depend on a low-budget grassroots strategy. Indeed, throwing in former Laguna Niguel Councilman Paul Glaab’s fundraising figures, Petrilla raised more than Baric and Glaab combined.
Petrilla raised the most money from donors, with $69,230 in contributions. Baric followed with $54,470. Capistrano Unified School District Trustee Anna Bryson was closely behind Baric with $53,052. Dana Point Councilman Bill Brough (former Chief of Staff to AD-73 incumbent Diane Harkey) was fourth with $30,899. Finally, Glaab raised $14,749. I’m only reporting numbers for the Republican candidates, as I have found no indication of a non-Republican running for AD-73 at this point.
It’s still early of course, as the election is in June 2014, and the latest campaign finance reports were for the first half of 2013. However, these numbers are troubling for Brough and Glaab in that Bryson raised more than Brough and Glaab combined, Baric raised more than Brough and Glaab combined, and Petrilla raised more than Brough and Glaab combined.
In the land of expenditures, Bryson spent more in the first half of 2013 than all of her opponents combined. She spent $10,570, and the rest of the field expended a combined $9,804. More than 80% of Bryson’s expenditures went toward consultants. Brough spent the second most, with $5,315, scattered across numerous small expenses. Petrilla was third in spending with $3,622, also scattered across numerous small expenses. A distant fourth in expenditures, Glaab spent $470, which was a single expenditure for appetizers for his June 6 fundraiser. Spending the least was Baric, who expended $397, with $322 (81%) going to credit card processing fees for his donations and the remaining $75 in tiny, unitemized expenses.
Last week, I wrote about the $100,000 loans to the Baric and Glaab campaigns by the law firm of Baric & Tran and by Paul Glaab, respectively. Generally, $100,000 loans are paper tigers. They are used to inflate campaign finance figures to impress donors and scare opponents. However, when the rubber meets the road, 99% of the time, the candidates do not spend their loan money and repay the loans in their entirety after the election. (The magic of the $100,000 figure for loans is that it is the most state legislative candidates can lend themselves and still get repaid under state law. If you’re running for the Legislature, and loan yourself $101,000, that extra $1,000 can never be repaid, per the Government Code.)
According to the Form 460 campaign finance reports, Glaab loaned himself the $100,000 on June 30, the final day of the reporting period, while the law firm of Baric & Tran loaned Baric’s campaign $100,000 also on June 30, though oddly scattered across three loans, one of which was only $48. Bryson loaned herself $14,600 across four loans made over several months, with a $100 loan in January and loans of $4,750-$5,000, made on a monthly basis in April, May, and June. Brough lent himself $100, one of the rare loans where I think the candidate will actually spend the money, as I just don’t think the average candidate cares about getting repaid $100. As their $100 loans were made before receiving any contributions, I suspect the Bryson and Brough $100 loans were simply to meet the minimum deposit requirements to open their bank accounts.
I give Brough credit for taking advantage of the $50 new bank account bonus promotion at Wells Fargo. I do not recall an instance of a campaign finance report where the candidate used one of these offers. Although it’s only $50, I always applaud candidates who find creative (yet both legal and ethical) ways to find money for their campaigns.
For visual learners:
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand
|Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.|
Campaign finance reports for January 1-June 30, 2013 were due at 11:59 PM last night.
It’s still early in the campaign finance figures, and the July 1-December 31, 2013 numbers will be more telling, but it’s still surprising that Petrilla outraised Baric by 27% and that he leads the rest of the field in fundraising, as the usual AD-73 narrative was that Petrilla would struggle to raise money, relying on an aggressive ground game for his campaign rather than any significant spending. As I noted above, Brough and Glaab’s early numbers don’t look promising, as the two of them combined raised less than Bryson, who herself raised less than either Baric or Petrilla.