Thursday, Sept. 29, marked the first pre-election deadline for Mountain View City Council hopefuls – and everyone running for local office in California – to disclose how much money they’ve raised so far for their campaigns, who gave it to them and how they’re spending it. Incumbent Councilmember Ellen Kamei is currently leading the pack of five candidates for total funds raised, with incumbent Mayor Lucas Ramirez close behind.
Kamei has reported raising about $28,500 so far this calendar year, $23,000 of which came in during the last filing period from July 1 to Sept. 24. The majority of her contributions range from $100 to $500, though a handful of contributors backed her campaign with $1,000 donations. Those include, but aren’t limited to, Foothill-De Anza Community College District Trustee Gilbert Wong, Santa Clara Valley Water District Director Gary Kremen, the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) 332 Education Fund, the Plumbers, Steamfitters and Refrigeration Fitters union, and the Mountain View Professional Firefighters Local 1965.
Kamei's campaign spent about $4,000 during the last filing period, namely on campaign literature and candidate filing fees.
Coming in close behind Kamei, Ramirez reported raising $27,700 so far this year, about $15,250 of which came in during the most recent filing period. He received $1,000 donations from local unions including the IBEW Education Fund and the Plumbers, Steamfitters and Refrigeration Fitters Local 393 PAC Fund.
Ramirez outspent all his opponents this filing period, having used about $14,750. The majority of his expenditures went toward campaign literature and mailings.
Incumbent Vice Mayor Alison Hicks has raised a bit more than $20,600, all of which came in during the most recent filing period.
Like her fellow incumbents, most of her donations are in the $100 to $500 range, with a handful of $1,000 donors including Santa Clara County Water Commissioner Kremen, the IBEW 332 Education Fund, Mountain View Professional Firefighters Local 1965 and the Plumbers and Steamfitters and Refrigeration Fitters Local 393 PAC. Hicks spent about $6,700 this filing period, mostly on brochure printing.
Li Zhang is the only non-incumbent to have filed campaign finance disclosures.
Zhang’s reported campaign donations so far top out at just over $7,750, mostly ranging from $20 to $500. She received one $1,000 contribution from Mountain View Professional Firefighters Local 1965. Zhang spent nearly $4,000 during the last filing period, mostly on campaign materials.
Fellow newcomer Justin Cohen filed a 470 form, meaning he anticipates that he’ll receive less than $2,000 and will spend less than $2,000 on his campaign during the calendar year.
All five candidates have accepted this year's voluntary expenditure limit of $28,744 which aims to limit the amount of money influencing the election. Those who don’t accept the limit are subject to tighter campaign contribution restrictions. In recent election years, all candidates have accepted the limit.