In the race to represent the 1st supervisorial district, Das Williams, a Democratic state Assemblymember, has $341,200 at his disposal — triple that of his opponent Jennifer Christensen, Santa Barbara County’s investment officer, who is registered as declined to state a party preference.
Much of Williams’s cash on hand is money he transferred from his Assembly committee. Last year, Williams also opened a committee titled Senate 2020, a fact that has fueled his critics’ accusation he is merely an opportunistic politician hoping to use the seat as a placeholder for higher office.
“I didn’t file papers to run for Senate,” Williams said in a recent interview. “What has been brought up is a lie. I had a committee open to raise money for my political allies … . If that’s the worst attack they can make, I must be a Boy Scout.” Asked then if he was a Boy Scout, Williams said, “No human being is pure. But my desire to serve is pretty pure.”
Williams recently spent down the account, giving about $15,000 of the $42,500 in it this year to his supervisorial campaign coffers. He also gave $10,900 back to donors, including $4,000 to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. The rest was spent on fundraising events, airfare, and a number of Democratic state and federal campaigns. (Williams received $8,200 from the Chumash, and $14,800 from other Indian tribes.)
As for his bid for 1st District — which includes Carpinteria, Montecito, and Santa Barbara — Williams’s big donors through April 23 include top Measure P backer Richard Mazess ($20,000), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($5,000), and the California Association of Physician Groups’ political action committee ($5,000).
Unlike federal and state campaigns, Santa Barbara County supervisorial campaigns have no cap on the amount individuals can contribute.
Christensen — a first-time candidate who has worked nearly 15 years for the county — has $112,524 on hand. That includes a $30,000 loan from longtime Santa Barbara real estate mogul Morris Jurkowitz. He also gave her $10,000. Her other big donors include County Supervisor Peter Adam’s massive family business, Adam Brothers Farming ($9,000), and Highway 101 widening opponents Ron Pulice ($20,000) and Bob Short ($12,000). Christensen supporters contend money raised solely for this supervisorial race is competitive.
So far this year, Williams has spent $219,000; Christensen has spent $164,000. Both have TV ads that hit the airways in recent weeks.
Of the five candidates vying to represent the 3rd District — the largest district, which encompasses the Santa Ynez Valley, the Gaviota Coast, and Isla Vista — Bruce Porter, a financial advisor and army veteran with many conservative supporters, has raised the most, with $103,697 cash on hand. His major donors include Adam Brothers Farming ($10,000), Betteravia Farms ($10,000), a Happy Canyon Vineyard rancher ($5,000), and attorney Lawrence Grassini ($5,000).
Joan Hartmann, a former environmental attorney and public policy professor, has $70,353 on hand. Her major contributors include Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County ($3,000), World Business Academy’s founding president Rinaldo Brutoco ($5,000), Mazess ($5,000), attorney and preservationist Kim Kimbell ($5,000), and former Community Environmental Council boardmember Diane Boss ($5,000).
Coincidently, Jay Freeman — left-leaning founder of the multimillion-dollar technology company Cydia — and Bob Field, a retired dot-comer, both gave themselves $20,000 thus far; they both have about $11,000 left to spend.
As has been reported, Field, a registered Republican, contributed $1,000 to Hartmann’s campaign; land use is his primary issue. He also gave Christensen $100 because she is “rock solid” on financial matters, he said, though he did not know exactly where she stands on land-use matters.
Karen Jones, an unpaid music promoter in the Santa Ynez Valley, signed a form with the election’s office to spend less than $2,000 when she started her campaign. Thus far, her expenses — 24 reusable bags and a full-page color ad in the Santa Ynez Valley Star — remain under budget. Jones said the “sense of obligation that accompanies taking money” caused her to decline to accept money from friends. “Nobody owns me,” she said.
In the 4th District, Eddie Ozeta, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) board president and county eligibility worker, is challenging incumbent Adam. Ozeta has $11,712 in his campaign coffers, about a quarter of which he loaned himself. Adam, meanwhile, has about $26,000 at his disposal. His major donors include ERG Operating Company ($5,000) and Teixeira Farms ($2,500).