With Michelle Steel termed out from her State Board of Equalization seat and running for Orange County Board of Supervisors, there are two major contenders running for Steel’s BOE seat: State Senator Mark Wyland (R-Escondido) and State Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point). Wyland and Harkey represent overlapping districts, with Harkey representing South Orange County in the Assembly and Wyland representing both South Orange County and North San Diego County in the Senate.
The massive BOE-4 seat comprises 25% of the state’s population, consisting of all of Orange County, San Diego County, Riverside County, Imperial County, and portions of San Bernardino County. (In redistricting, the seat was renumbered, as it was previously BOE-3, and consisted of all the territory described above plus more portions of San Bernardino County and small slivers of Los Angeles County.)
Both Wyland and Harkey have loaned their own campaigns $100,000. Harkey made a single $100,000 loan in 2011 while Wyland loaned his campaign $35,000 in 2011 and then added a $65,000 loan on June 29 this year, just one day before the close of the reporting period. I’ve written previously about the campaign warchest fiction of $100,000 loans in my post on AD-73 last week (and requoted in my post on AD-55 two days ago):
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.)
I also wrote more extensively about $100,000 loans two weeks ago in a post that included information about loans from two AD-73 candidates and one AD-55 candidate.
At the end of 2012, Wyland had $132,049 cash on hand (excluding loans) while Harkey had $10,090. During the first half of 2013, Wyland raised $88,584 while Harkey raised $81,536 and transferred in $29,650 from her other campaign accounts, giving her a gross increase of $111,186 in non-loan money.
During the January 1-June 30 reporting period, Wyland spent $122,142, with $89,010 (72.9%) going to consultants, professional services, and web costs. During that same time, Harkey spent $49,419, spending just over half her money ($25,000) on Landslide Communications slate mailers. Harkey had made previous deposits to Landslide and Continuing the Republican Revolution in 2012. Neither campaign reported expenditures for any other slate mailers in 2012 or 2013. Wyland had $2,241 in unpaid bills while Harkey had $1,330.
While Harkey had more campaign income than Wyland and Wyland outspent Harkey in 2013, Wyland’s $121,959 cash advantage from 2012 leaves him with more cash on hand.
Although I have been critical of candidates who loan their campaigns $100,000 because they do not spend it, BOE 4 may be one of the rare exceptions. When you subtract the $100,000 loans, Wyland still has $96,250, but Harkey has actually spent $29,472 of the loan; I’m sure she hopes to raise it back, but at this point she’s already spent a chunk of the loan.
In a demonstration of just how difficult it is to raise money for BOE and how expensive everything is for the massive district that covers 25% of the state’s population, I’ll note the BOE accounts of Tom Harman and Lou Correa. While neither Harman nor Correa is running for BOE, they each opened BOE accounts as a place to park their campaign funds for 2014. Harman had $76,767 at the end of 2012, raised literally nothing in 2013, spent $8,979, and has $67,788 cash on hand – or 70% of Wyland’s current cash-on-hand minus unpaid bills and loans. Correa had $85,400 at the end of 2012, raised $55,500 in 2013, spent $11,930 ($6,924 in expenditures and $5,006 in unpaid bills), and has $128,970 cash-on-hand minus unpaid bills – or 134% of Wyland’s cash-on-hand minus unpaid bills and loans (Correa has no loans).
For visual learners:
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand
|People Not Actually Running for BOE|
|Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.|
Campaign finance reports for January 1-June 30, 2013 were due last week.
It’s early yet, but Wyland’s definitely ahead of Harkey in the money game, though Harkey’s definitely spent more efficiently than Wyland, by locking up two major slate vendors in this race, which may well be won solely on slates.
(UPDATE – August 18, 7:25 AM): An OC Political reader asked how much was available for Harkey and Wyland to transfer from other committees since both are sitting state legislators. Once unpaid bills are accounted for, Wyland still has $2,083 in his Senate officeholder account ($7,659 if you ignore his unpaid bills) while Harkey has $71,782 in her Senate account ($75,674 if you ignore her unpaid bills) and $53,231 in her Assembly account (that account has no unpaid bills).
For visual learners:
|Cash on Hand
|Wyland 2010 Officeholder||$5,576||$7,659||$2,083|
|Harkey for Senate 2014||$3,892||$75,674||$71,782|
|Harkey for Assembly 2012||$0||$53,231||$53,231|
I haven’t gone line-by-line to determine how much is transferable, but assuming for the sake of argument that the entire amount is transferable, Harkey has $125,013 available while Wyland has $2,083.
If both candidates clean out their legislative accounts in favor of their BOE accounts, Wyland has $98,333 cash on hand (once unpaid bills and loans are accounted for), and Harkey has $95,541. This leaves Wyland with a $2,792 cash-on-hand advantage – in a district that is 1/4 of the State of California, an utterly meaningless cash advantage in virtually any race let alone one covering such a huge swath of the state (for comparison, imagine a statewide race where once candidate had an $11,168 cash-on-hand advantage).
What I concluded in the original post still rings true, though with one word changed: “It’s early yet, but Wyland’s
definitely slightly ahead of Harkey in the money game, though Harkey’s definitely spent more efficiently than Wyland, by locking up two major slate vendors in this race, which may well be won solely on slates.”