[This story was originally published on the website of the public affairs program Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts.]
Darcel Elliott, top aide to Supervisor Das Williams, is clobbering rival Marsha Croninger in campaign fundraising, raising more in her bid for Santa Barbara City College trustee than every other candidate for five board seats combined.
Fueled by cash from most of the local Democratic establishment, the veteran party operative has raised $35,151 to date, according to the campaign finance report she filed late last month, along with other required documents that list contributions of $1,000 or more she received since. As of Sept. 22, she reported $21,547 cash on hand.
Croninger, the two-term incumbent whom Elliott has assailed for not developing a strategy to construct housing for 7,000 out-of-area SBCC students, reported raising $11,217.50, including a $2,000 personal loan. Her campaign had $7,783 in the bank as of the September deadline.
The two are competing for the seat representing Area 5, which includes the Riviera, Upper East Side, Mission Canyon, San Roque and a small slice of the Westside. Five of the seven seats on the purportedly non-partisan board are up this year, although two incumbents face no opposition.
As a practical matter, her hefty fundraising means Elliott is in a strong position to communicate her message on a range of platforms, whether online, mailers, house signs, brochures or sky banner. Not to mention paying for pizza for the volunteers.
Darcel makes bank. In detailing Elliott’s donations from Democratic officeholders and worthies, it is easier to list a few from whom she didn’t get money ― state Senator Hannah Beth Jackson and city council member Kristen Sneddon, both of whom back Croninger, come to mind ― than those from whom she did.
Among those pitching in are her boss, Williams, for whom she works as chief of staff at the Board of Supervisors, who’s given $2,500.
Contributions of $500 each came from SB Mayor Cathy Murillo; council member and soon-to-be-Supervisor Gregg Hart and Supervisor Joan Hartmann, while Supervisor Janet Wolf gave $250.
City Council members Oscar Guttierez and Eric Friedman, party loyalists like their better-heeled colleagues Hart and Murillo, each managed $100.
The entire school board gave to Darcel’s campaign: Kate Parker – herself running for SBCC board –($400); Laura Capps ($250); Jackie Reid, Wendy Sims-Moten and Ismael Ulloa ($100 apiece). SBCC Trustee Jonathan Abboud, an ally of Elliott who faces no opponent, kicked in $1,000.
She also received $3,000 from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, a Williams ally, with whom Elliott said she worked when Das was in the state Assembly and sponsored a bill to create a Native American Culture teaching credential.
Other notable contributions include $5,000 from Richard Mazess, founder of several medical technology companies and wealthy Montecito contributor to liberal causes; $500 from the Democratic-aligned Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 114; $500 from attorney Joe Cole, chair of the Montecito Planning Commission, which operates within Williams’s supervisorial district.
Among Croninger’s noteworthy contributions: $2,500 from Claudette Roehrig, president of the board of Domestic Violence Solutions; $2,000 from John MacFarlane, founder of the Sonos audio company; $1,000 from investor Mary Kay Robinson; $500 from Hannah Beth and $100 from SBCC board colleague Peter Haslund.
Here is a look at the campaign finance filings of the other candidates.
Area 1 (Carpinteria and Montecito) ― Incumbent Haslund has no opposition and reported raising no money.
Area 2 (Goleta) ― Goleta Planning Commissioner Robert Miller, an appointed incumbent who was chosen by the other trustees to fill a vacancy, reported raising $749. Brandon Morse, whose ballot designation is “Business Manager” reported no contributions.
Area 6 (Isla Vista, Hope Ranch) ― Although he is not opposed, and therefore does not appear on the ballot, incumbent Jonathan Abboud reported raising $12,231.88 for his campaign account. Also endorsed by the Democrats, he received $500 from Rep. Salud Carbajal and $250 each from Hart, Hartmann and Assembly member Monique Limon.
Area 7 (Santa Barbara) ― Kate Parker, who is leaving the school board in a bid to fill the seat of retiring former Mayor Marty Blum, reported raising $2,100. A strong favorite endorsed by the Democrats, she received $500 from the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and $100 each from school board colleague Reid, former school board member Ed Heron and prize-winning columnist Starshine Roshell.
The other two candidates in the district, Professor/Author Daniel Seymour and Laurie Punches, listed on the ballot as “Mother/Grandmother/Entrepreneur, reported no financial activity.
The next campaign filing is Oct. 25.