WESTSIDE — More than $3.8 million has been raised or spent in a race to replace current State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Santa Monica), who is running for congress.
As of last filing, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education member Ben Allen had raised the most cash from donations in increments of $4,100 or less . He’d brought in more than $346,000 through those smaller donations. Additionally, Allen donated $50,000 to his own campaign.
Allen has also benefited the most from independent expenditures. Candidates can accept up to $4,100 from individuals but there’s no cap on the amount that can be spent by people or organizations unaffiliated with the campaign. The money does not go directly to the candidates or their campaigns but is used to independently support their run for office.
Bill Bloomfield, who previously challenged Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-Santa Monica) seat in congress, has spent more than $547,000 promoting Allen, mostly through campaign literature and mailers.
The Daily Press attempted to reach Bloomfield but didn’t hear back by press time.
Allen expressed gratitude and mild perplexity at the support from the Republican-turned-independent.
He noted that, in the context of 2012 congressional election, he’d defended Waxman against Bloomfield.
Allen’s met Bloomfield briefly in the past but election code forbids the two from communicating.
“I cannot talk to him,” Allen said. “That’s what’s so bizarre. I know the least about it. I just hear drips and drabs from other people.”
Candidate Patric Verrone, who’s written on The Simpsons, Futurama, and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, issued a statement earlier this week criticizing the more than $1 million spent by outside interests in the campaign.
“Corporate spending on politics has grown to the point where it is overwhelming people’s voices in elections, not just on the national and state levels, but here in our local communities,” he said. “This is one of the core civil rights issues of our time — and we must address it now or we will see corporate special interests tighten their grip on government at our expense.”
Verrone has brought in more than $137,000 from smaller donors and spent $50,000 of his own money but has yet to be supported through independent expenditures.
“I appreciate (Bloomfield’s) support like I appreciate the support of the thousands of people who are supporting me from across the political spectrum,” Allen said. “I will always be guided in my own decision-making, by my own values, and sense of personal integrity. That’s the kind of legislator I seek to be. I’m my own guy and I am independent.”
Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth follows close behind Allen in the small donations category. She’s raised more than $344,000 for her campaign, as of last filing. She’s also spent $200,000 of her own money, the most of any candidate.
Her run for office has been supported through more than $219,000 from outside interests, with nearly all of it coming from Alliance For California’s Tomorrow, a California Business Coalition, which is also spending money to oppose Betsy Butler.
Butler, who was elected to the State Assembly in 2010 but lost to former Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom in 2012 after redistricting, has more than $271,000 from smaller donations. For Butler, tens of thousands of dollars are being spent through independent expenditures on both sides of her campaign.
Alliance for California’s Tomorrow, a California Business Coalition spent $100,000 on television commercials in opposition.
“It’s corporations that don’t want me in,” Butler said. “In my very first campaign those organizations spent a million against me. The last election it was the farmers and the Chamber of Commerce who spent the money.”
Butler said she got into politics to be the voice for the most vulnerable people, and the independent cash spent in opposition to her campaign motivates her even more.
“The way corporations are able to have so much say with regards to money and most people in the district,” she said, “even though it’s one of the wealthiest in the state and one of the wealthiest in the country, the fact is there are a heck of a lot of people who can’t afford, say, a Bill Bloomfield way of campaigning for a candidate.”
Peace Officers Research Association for California has supported Butler’s run for office with more than $40,000 worth of radio ads and consulting.
Vito Imbasciani, a urilogical surgeon and former medical officer in the U.S. Army, is right behind Allen when it comes to support through independent expenditures.
He’s raised $232,000 and spent $66,000 more of his own cash. More than $510,000 has been spent by four independent groups to support his run. Keeping Californians Working, a Coalition Of Dentists, Realtors, Housing Providers, Energy, Insurance Agents And Employees To Protect Working Californians has spent more than $208,000 on polling, research, and mailers.
Sandra Fluke, a legislative advocate and reproductive rights activist, has brought in more than $323,000 from smaller donors and spent $116,000 of her own cash. She’s not been support through cash by outside parties.
Barbi Appelquist has raised more than $27,000 and spent $14,000.
Seth Stodder has spent $74,000 of his own money and raised about $19,000.