In the race to represent the 24th congressional district, Salud Carbajal continues to lead the pack in fundraising, raking in roughly $313,000 in the first quarter of 2016. That brings Carbajal to nearly $1.7 million total money raised, with just over $1 million cash on hand. Last quarter, his chief Democratic rival, Helene Schneider, raised $96,800, bringing her total to $577,042. She has $241,600 in her war chest.
But those figures significantly overstate how much they can spend before the June 7 primary election. In the last two weeks, Carbajal unveiled two ads. The first shows him walking along the beach with his wife, meeting with constituents, and talking with supporters of Planned Parenthood (Schneider supporters emphasize the Planned Parenthood local chapter has not endorsed either candidate).
Four days later, Schneider convened a press conference to demand Carbajal take his new TV ad down, charging it presented an exaggeratedly rosy picture of county finances while not acknowledging the looming challenges. Schneider objected Carbajal took credit for the county’s balanced budget, high solid credit ratings, and $4.5 million in allocated reserves. And she complained it failed to acknowledge the hundreds of millions of dollars the county confronts in unmet capital needs.
Carbajal dismissed the media event as “disappointing,” noting that the county supervisors are now squirreling away 18 percent of annual general fund revenues on the county’s maintenance backlog. Carbajal said he does not intend to remove the ads. The second ad shows clips of Donald Trump speaking, followed by Carbajal dismissing the bombastic Republican frontrunner’s style as “not how we do things on the Central Coast.” Schneider, meanwhile, said she has an ad going up soon.
On the Republican side, Justin Fareed also hit the $1 million mark total. Last quarter, he brought in $182,428. He has $727,800 cash on hand. Establishment favorite Katcho Achadjian, meanwhile, brought in about a quarter of a million dollars in the last three months, bringing his total raised to $631,000. Of that, he has $400,000 cash on hand. Matt Kokkonen, who has run for office, loaned himself $210,500, bringing his cash on hand total to nearly $200,000, enough to stay the course.
Nick Welsh contributed to this report.