Sheriff rakes in the dough at swanky fund-raiser

Soft music, a rousing speech from former state Attorney General Dan Lungren and a catered tri-tip dinner made Sheriff Scott Mackenzie’s campaign war chest $30,000 richer May 30.

The fund-raiser was billed as the kick-off for Mackenzie’s 2002 re-election bid, and about 200 people attended, at a cost of $125 each. David Reade, Mackenzie’s campaign consultant, said that he was “very pleased” with the fund-raiser.

“We made a good bit of money,” Reade said. “It went very well.”

The event was hosted by Darby and Kathleen Makel, who worked with Lungren while he was attorney general, at their home. It was strictly invite only—even a reporter who agreed to pay the fee to attend was barred from the fund-raiser.

Supervisors Kim Yamaguchi and Curt Josiassen attended, along with conservative radio talk show host Bruce Sessions and several family members of the late state Assemblyman Bernie Richter.

It appears that the Richter family, along with many of Butte County’s core Republican leaders—who seemed to fracture and separate when Richter died in 1999—are rallying behind Mackenzie the way they rallied behind Richter, who was a hugely popular (and always controversial) politician in Butte County.

Reade, who served as Richter’s chief of staff and is married to his daughter, also helped organize the event. He’s now working as a campaign consultant for Mackenzie’s re-election campaign and has also worked with Yamaguchi’s supervisorial effort.

That Mackenzie was able to raise a whopping $30,000 in one evening is impressive—especially since no one is running against him (in fact, no one is even rumored to be thinking about running against him) and because it is so early in the campaign season. The primary election won’t be held until March 2002.

His most recent campaign contribution statement, which was filed Jan. 30, reports that he hadn’t received any campaign contributions since late 1998, right before he was elected. His only campaign income last year was a $10,500 loan Mackenzie made himself that is still outstanding.

Joe Hanner, whose wife Betty is Mackenzie’s treasurer, said everyone at the fund-raiser had “a fabulous time.” Lungren, who lost to Gray Davis in a 1998 race for the governorship, spoke about the state’s energy problems and the importance of water rights for farmers, he said.

"Everyone was there," Hanner said. "I mean, everyone. You can tell [Mackenzie] is going places."