AD-74: Land of Small Warchests
Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 3, 2014
Well, campaign finance figures are out, and OC Political will be doing our signature in-depth slicing and dicing of campaign finance numbers in the coming days. Last week, we had several candidates send over press releases touting their fundraising prowess. Some even asked us explicitly to post their releases. We opted not to post any of those until we could examine the numbers ourselves. Indeed, six months ago, I admonished readers to check the numbers against the press release claims in a post on AD-55. Some candidates are spinning wildly, but there are other times when candidates’ numbers actually gel well with their press releases. The only way to figure out which is the case is to look at the numbers.
So on to the numbers…
First up is the race for AD-74 to replace Allan Mansoor, who is leaving the Assembly to run for the 2nd District Supervisor’s seat, being vacated by the termed out John Moorlach. AD-74 consists of Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, the southern half of Huntington Beach, and portions of Irvine. There are four declared Republican candidates: Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper, Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry, Assemblyman Travis Allen’s District Director Emanuel Patrascu, and H&R Block Franchise Associate Karina Onofre.
The numbers in AD-74 show this is anybody’s race. None of the candidates have particularly large warchests. Multiple candidates in races for other offices have raised more than all the AD-74 candidates combined. Curry and Patracu have the largest warchests (or perhaps “least small warchests” would be more appropriate). Patrascu is ahead of Curry by a few thousand dollars, but Curry is raising money at a faster pace. Patrascu had more donors but Curry’s donors gave larger amounts on average. Harper is in debt, and Onofre didn’t reach the threshold to trigger electronic filing. (Actually, Harper didn’t reach the threshold to trigger electronic filing either, but he still opted to file an electronic report.)
Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper entered the race the third week of November. He reported a $4,100 max-out contribution from Karen Harper on December 7. Matt Harper loaned his own campaign $2,000 on Christmas Eve.
Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry entered the race the first week of December. On December 6, he transferred 20 contributions totaling $6,490 from his City Council account to his Assembly account. During the rest of December, he raised $20,705 from 22 donors, plus another $495 from small unitemized donations. His donations included $4,100 max-out contributions from the Orange County Business Council‘s BIZPAC and the campaign committee of former Senator Tom Harman. He also reported $1,000 from Long Beach Councilman Gary DeLong (who was the unsuccessful Republican nominee in CD-47 in 2012 against Alan Lowenthal), $500 from former Newport Beach Mayor Tod Ridgeway, and $250 from Curry’s council colleague, Nancy Gardner. If Curry can continue his pace of $21,200 per month, he will quickly amass the largest warchest in AD-74. However, many candidates find their fundraising slows down after an initial burst after their campaigns launch when they pick up their low-hanging fruit donors; can Curry defy the odds?
Emanuel Patrascu, who is Assemblyman Travis Allen‘s District Director and was formerly on the staff of Senator Tom Harman, announced his official November 18 kick-off in September but had been raising money prior to his kick-off. He reported $25,079 from 41 donors, plus another $1,266 from small unitemized donations. His donations included $4,100 max-out contributions from businessmen Kieu Hoang and Buddy Molway. He also reported $500 from Harman’s campaign committee in October and $2,000 in prior reporting periods, for a total of $2,500 from Tom Harman‘s committee. He also reported $1,000 from former California Republican Party Chairman Mike Schroeder, $250 from the former Assembly campaign committee of Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Steve Baric (the CRP’s Immediate Past Vice Chair), and $150 from the campaign committee of Westminster Mayor Tri Ta. Patrascu loaned himself $5,000 on New Year’s Eve, $1,500 in June, and $18,700 in 2012. He raised $17,600 during the same period that Curry raised $21,200 (Patrascu raised $2,750 after his campaign kick-off but before Curry entered the race). If Patrascu can continue his pace of $17,600 per month, then he will be able to build a sizeable warchest. As I said with Curry, however, many candidates find their fundraising slows down after an initial burst after their campaigns launch when they pick up their low-hanging fruit donors; can Patrascu defy the odds?
Businesswoman Karina Onofre, who previously ran unsuccessfully for Santa Ana City Council in 2012, entered the race Thanksgiving week. She did not file her campaign finance report electronically, as she did not reach the $25,000 threshold to require electronic filing.
For visual learners:
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand
|Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.|
Campaign finance reports for July 1-December 31, 2013 were due last week.
By the way, OC Political probably won’t detail individual donors in most races; it’s just that AD-74 had so few donors, it was doable. In other races, the data is more voluminous.