As we learned at a League of Women Voters Alameda program last year, it’s expensive to run for public office, even in our relatively small town. In the 2016 City Council race, candidates spent an average of $30,000 each, with the two winning candidates spending just under $50,000 each.
Campaign financing is a double-edge sword: on the one hand, it’s a way of measuring which candidates have generated sufficient support among the populace to raise money for their campaigns. On the other hand, special interests can leverage their deep pockets to influence the outcome.
Transparency is the key. To that end, campaign finance laws require candidates to declare all contributions large and small. In California, candidates for all public offices – federal, state or local – must file a California Form 460 several times during the election cycle to document the source and amount of all campaign contributions over $100. This gives voters an opportunity to factor in the amount and source of all contributions to candidates on their ballot.
Anybody can access California Form 460 filings on the Secretary of State’s website. In addition, the Alameda City Clerk posts 460 filings for all local candidates on the city’s website.
To enable Alameda voters to better understand the source of campaign funds without wading through these lengthy reports, the League of Women Voters of Alameda has created the following charts which compare campaign funds contributed to each candidate and the groups for and against Measure K by the type of contributor, the location of the contributor and the size of contributions. If you find this information of interest, you can access the filings at the website above to see a list of specific contributions to each candidate. We will update these charts after subsequent filing deadlines at the end of September, end of October and after the final election reports are filed by January 31, 2019.Please let us know if you find this information helpful and what further we can do to increase your knowledge of the source of funding for each candidate.
The charts show totals of campaign contributions to candidates who filed for office by July 31, 2018. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order: City Council candidates Stewart Chen, Tony Daysog, John Knox White, Robert C. Matz, and Jim Oddie; Mayoral Candidates Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Frank Matarrese and Trish Spencer; and School Board candidates Mia Bonta, Kevin Jordan, Gary Lym and Anne McKereghan.
A set of charts also tracks contributions to groups for and against Measure K. No groups have filed for campaigns for or against Measure F.
All the information for the following charts comes directly from the publicly available California Forms 460 for the November 6, 2018 election filed by September 27, 2018 as posted on the City of Alameda website.
The data reflect both monetary and non-monetary contributions to mayoral and city council candidates and Measure K proponents and opponents in excess of $100 from any one source. Contributions of less than $100 are not itemized and are therefore not reflected in the totals except as noted in the Contributions by Size chart. The totals do not reflect amounts spent on behalf of candidates or Measure K by independent expenditure committees.
Categories of information in the charts (type of contributor, location of contributor and size of donation) are the same categories used to record the information in the 460s; we have labeled the categories somewhat differently for clarity.
The charts cover only contributions since the start of the current reporting period January 1, 2018. The charts do not reflect contributions to incumbents with campaign committees who reported funds that were raised prior to that date. Contributions collected by candidates when they ran for a different office and were transferred to the campaign fund for the office they are currently seeking are included in the “political” category.
Where the total of contributions among various candidates or groups vary greatly (such as with Measure K), we have created an inset with a different scale for those with lesser amounts to make it easier to read and compare.