Off to the races

It’s February, which means campaign-finance reports are in. Woohoo! We finally get a good look at all the City Hall contests on the ballot in June.

District 1, covering parts of downtown and all of Natomas, was supposed to be the race to watch. But incumbent City Councilman Ray Tretheway has sucked up all the money so far. Angelique Ashby, the most serious challenger, has raised $32,000, and has about $20,000 to spend. One of her biggest contributions is from the Sacramento Police Officers Association.

Ashby’s got the cops, but Tretheway has the support of the developers and builders. He’s raised $134,000 and has a little more than $100,000 on hand. Highlights include $4,000 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, and $5,000 from the California State Pipe Trades Council PAC, among many, many others.

Back in the central city, incumbent Councilman Steve Cohn must think he’ll dodge a serious challenge for his District 3 council seat. He’s raised just $50,000 for this race so far, and has spent only $7,000. He got $2,500 from the Cal Real Estate PAC, $1,000 from downtown überdeveloper David Taylor, and $1,500 from Sacramento Natural Gas Storage—which hopes for a favorable city council vote later this year on its controversial proposal to store 7 billion cubic feet of natural gas under the Avondale and Glen Elder neighborhoods.

Real-estate agent Chris Little has raised $12,000, in individual contributions, many of them from fellow real-estate agents. But contractor and former Midtown Business Association president Shawn Eldredge has drummed up just $2,275 so far. Eldredge is also only the second candidate in Sacramento history to use the city’s obscure public-financing system to try to take on an incumbent.

In District 5, City Councilwoman Lauren Hammond is giving up her seat to run for state Assembly, and the field of candidates to represent Oak Park Curtis Park and Hollywood Park is crowded.

Kasey Cotulla has loaned himself $26,500, but hasn’t registered any other campaign contributions—unless you count $200 from a relative in Virginia. Candidate Henry Harry ends this reporting period with $508.92 cash on hand. Terrence Johnson, president of the Oak Park Business Association has raised a respectable $8,800 in small contributions so far.

Former Sac City school board member Jay Schenirer has raised about $74,000 but has just $24,000 left on hand. Current school board member and labor lawyer Patrick Kennedy is winning the money fight so far, with $97,000 raised far and $66,000 on hand. His report shows a lot of union backing, with $5,000 (the max allowable) from Plumbers and Pipefitters locals 447 and 467, as well as the Pipe Trades District Council Local 36. In fact, Kennedy boasts a long list of supporters in the pipe-related unions. Wonder if he is pro-pipe.

Bites also wonders if incumbent Councilman Robbie Waters’ political career is going down the tubes in District 7, covering Pocket and Greenhaven. Conventional wisdom is that the city council’s lone Republican ranger—who’s been in office for 16 years—cannot be dislodged. His $170,000 is more money than any other city council candidate has raised this year. But, aside from being on the wrong side of the strong-mayor debate, and having his son (and former campaign treasurer) embroiled in PermitGate, Waters faces not one but two well-funded challengers.

Former Sacramento Police Capt. Darrell Fong has raised $65,000 and has pledged not to take a city salary until the budget shapes up. Marketing guy Ryan Chin has $67,000 on hand, after raising more than $83,000.

Waters has raised more than both of his competitors combined, but he could get forced into a runoff, where anything could happen.