CITY HALL ‚Äî Candidate and independent expenditure campaigns threw down roughly $1.2 million on local races for the Nov. 6 election, according to filings that began trickling in last week.
The total bill came out to $1,217,986.21, to be exact, although that figure does not include some candidates who failed to reach a threshold that required them to file a statement and factors in payments made by the campaigns to other races and issues like Board of Education and the Rent Control Board.
Independent expenditure campaigns and political action committees outspent the candidates and measures that they backed two-to-one, with $830,509.50 of the total coming from seven organizations ranging from the familiar ‚Äî Santa Monicans for Renters‚Äô Rights (SMRR) ‚Äî to the new kids on the block like Santa Monicans United for a Responsible Future, or SMURF.
SMURF, a coalition of development interests, lead the way with $452,544,93 spent, most of which went to its slate of four City Council candidates including Gleam Davis, Terry O‚ÄôDay, Shari Davis and Ted Winterer.
Each got slightly varied amounts, with Gleam Davis netting the most with $117,685.17 and Winterer getting the least with $79,556.20.
Both amounts exceeded what the individual candidates were able to raise on their own.
Behind SMURF came SMRR, the traditional Santa Monica political powerhouse, with $165,965.80, although only $9,040 was spent on each member of its four-person slate.
Still, it came out the winningest ‚Äî SMRR managed a clean sweep of the election including each of its candidates for all four races and every ballot measure it backed.
Third in line came Santa Monicans for Responsible Growth, a new anti-development group founded by Santa Monica residents with organizational help from the Huntley Hotel.
The Huntley was widely rumored to lead a shadow campaign backing candidates that might oppose the expansion of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, its neighbor, which had proposed to build a bigger, taller hotel on its current site.
Major funding for the group came from Playground Consulting, a computer security firm in Nevada which claimed to have clients in Santa Monica. The organization spent $92,587, primarily on mailers and consultant Sue Burnside, whose company was paid $38,151.11 by the group in 2012.
Far behind the top three funders were the Police Officer‚Äôs Association committee, Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, Committee for Excellent Public Schools and the Coalition of Santa Monica City Employees PAC.
For their part, council candidates raised as little as nothing (Terence Later filed a page full of goose eggs in October) and as much as $93,073.15 (columnist and former Planning Commissioner Frank Gruber).
The sweet spot seemed to be between $39,000 and $61,545.13, where many of the major contenders sat with the exception of John Smith, a newcomer to Santa Monica politics who raised $12,514.03 including a $9,255 loan to himself.
Smith was not alone in that. Gruber contributed $41,000 to his own campaign, as did victorious candidate Tony Vazquez, who had debts totaling $28,883.29 ‚Äî he raised only $18,516 through the course of the race, but spent over $40,000.
Richard McKinnon had no loans, specifically, although he did pitch in $16,355.43, according to his filing.
Although groups received funding from many of the usual suspects throughout the course of the campaign, including Huntley Hotel employees and representatives, major developers with large projects that will go before the City Council and others, there were a few outliers.
Winterer‚Äôs most recent filing included donations from the owner of Hanky Panky LTD., a women‚Äôs lingerie store in New York, and from a shamanic healer who resides in Santa Monica.
“I‚Äôm always glad to have that extra help,” Winterer said. “I only regret I didn‚Äôt have a voodoo guy.”