AD-74: Curry Dominates Fundraising, Patrascu Distant Second, Harper Spends All on Slates
Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 26, 2014
Well, it’s that time of the election cycle again: campaign finance reports are out. OC Political will be doing our in-depth analysis to help you get past the campaigns’ spin on the numbers. First on the docket 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 three declared Republican candidates in AD-74: Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper, Businessman/Newport Beach Councilman Keith D. Curry, and Assemblyman Travis Allen’s District Director Emanuel Patrascu, an Orange County business owner. H&R Block Franchise Associate Karina Onofre pulled papers as a Republican but filed them as a Democrat, so she’s on the ballot as a Democrat. Middle School Teacher Anila Ali, who has been a Democrat since she became a U.S. citizen in 2008, will also be on the ballot. (For those wondering, Onofre was a Republican for 20 months, from July 2012-March 2014. She has been a Democrat for years, other than during those 20 months.)
When OC Political analyzed the numbers for the end of the 2013 reporting, AD-74 was called the “Land of Small Warchests” in the post. Since then, Curry put his foot on the gas, and Patrascu stepped it up a bit, so those two are posting much stronger numbers (though still far behind races in other Assembly districts, but at the end of the day, to win this race, AD-74 only needs to worry about AD-74). The other three candidates’ warchests remain rather small, however.
Before I start in on the numbers, it’s time to attack the $100,000 paper tiger loans. We’ve been attacking the fiction of the $100,000 loans for months on OC Political. (This July post is probably the seminal post on the issue, though it wasn’t until this August post that the paper tiger name was attached.) In essence, these $100,000 paper tiger loans are loans candidates make to artificially inflate their campaign finance numbers to impress donors and scare opponents. The reason $100,000 is the figure used is that’s the most a candidate can loan their own campaign and still get the money back. Any amount the candidate gives above $100,000 is forever donated to the campaign under state law. In AD-74, Republican Curry and Democrat Onofre gave their own campaigns $100,000 paper tiger loans. It also appears Republican Patrascu gave his campaign a smaller paper tiger loan of $29,700. Republican Harper has actually spent his negligible $4,100 loan.
Curry had a slow start to 2013, but of course he declared his entry in the race just three weeks before Christmas. In the prior post on AD-74 warchests, I asked, ” 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?” The answer is yes, he defied the odds. In this latest reporting period, Curry raised $32,871 per month.
Curry added $83,768 this reporting period to his $21,200 from 2013, making him the first AD-74 candidate to break the $100,000 barrier in funds raised, with $104,968 in the course of his campaign. Curry transferred a negligible $6,490 from his city council campaign account in 2013, but transferred nothing this reporting period. He also gave himself one of those $100,000 paper tiger loans that we expect he won’t spend. Curry spent $32,271 on a healthy mix of items, including campaign literature, slate mailers, fundraising, ballot filing fees, and consultant fees. He has no unpaid bills. Even after subtracting out his loans, Curry still has $78,506 cash-on-hand.
Patrascu added $25,679 in this reporting period to his $35,395 haul from 2013, bringing his total contributions to $60,974. He made no transfers. He has $29,700 in loans. He was incredibly tight-fisted with his expenditures, spending only $5,098, all of went to fundraising expenses, campaign treasurer expenses, and ballot filing fees. He has no unpaid bills. After subtracting out his loans, Patrascu still has $54,021 cash-on-hand.
Harper only raised $2,150 in this reporting period ($1,900 from Rainbow Disposal and $250 from attorney Dave Bartels), adding to the $4,100 he raised in 2013 from Karen Harper last year, leaving Harper with $6,250 raised. He transferred in $11,150 from his City Council account into his Assembly account, all during this reporting period. He loaned himself $4,100. He spent $15,674, with $13,700 going to Jim Lacy’s Landslide Communications slates, $1,906 going to his treasurer Dave Bauer for either campaign literature or treasurer fees, and $68 in small unitemized expenditures. He has $17,763 in unpaid bills, with $13,700 on his credit card to pay for Lacy’s Landslide slates, $4,028 on his credit card to pay ballot filing fees, another $1,927 in small unitemized unpaid bills, and $35 on his credit card to pay for small office expenses. After subtracting out the loans and accounting for his unpaid bills, Harper is $19,940 in debt.
The Democrats are easy to summarize. Ali has not yet hit the $25,000 mark to require online campaign finance filing. Onofre gave herself a $100,000 paper tiger loan. She spent nothing and transferred nothing. She has a single $100 contribution from Republican CD-45 candidate Greg Raths; from the date of the contribution, Onofre was still a Republican at the time. I imagine Raths will be asking for his $100 back since Onofre has become a Democrat.
For visual learners:
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand
|Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.|
Campaign finance reports for January 1-March 17, 2014 were due Monday.