Shriver widens fundraising lead in bid for Yaroslavsky's seat

Shriver widens fundraising lead in bid for Yaroslavsky's seat
Supervisorial candidates Bobby Shriver, Pamela Conley-Ulich, John Duran and Sheila Kuehl are competing to replace Zev Yaroslavsky. (Catherine Saillant)

Los Angeles County supervisorial candidate Bobby Shriver has widened his fundraising lead over his two chief rivals to replace Zev Yaroslavsky, adding another $700,000 in personal funds to his campaign account and raising $332,500 more from a wide circle of supporters.

With the election less than two weeks away, Shriver has gathered a total of nearly $1.9 million in campaign cash since entering the race in January, according to newly filed reports covering the period ending May 17. In addition, the former Santa Monica mayor and council member is benefiting from close to $200,000 raised by independent groups supporting his run.


Sheila Kuehl, a former state lawmaker, collected about $468,000 during the most recent reporting period, bringing her fundraising total to just under $1.2 million since she began her campaign in March 2013.

Finance reports show that West Hollywood Councilman John Duran received $208,000 in contributions over the two-month reporting period, but still lags far behind both Shriver and Kuehl overall with a total of $396,000. Six other candidates in the race are expected to raise lesser amounts.

Shriver's donors reflect people he's worked with as a former Santa Monica council member, and his years working as a record producer and nonprofit director. Many of his friends and family members also gave. The campaign reported $539,800 cash on hand.

"We are in great shape for the finish of this race on June 3,'' Shriver said in a prepared statement.

In the race to succeed Supervisor Gloria Molina, former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the presumed front-runner, had raised $137,400 during the period, bringing her total raised since she launched her campaign last year to about $765,000.

Solis maintained a wide fundraising lead over her strongest competitor, Juventino “J” Gomez, an El Monte Councilman and former aide to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Gomez, who entered the race early this year, raised $52,300 during the period, bringing his total to nearly $107,200.

In the race to replace county assessor John Noguez – who is fighting public corruption charges and is not running for reelection – West Hollywood Councilman Jeffrey Prang, a supervisor in the assessor's office, reported raising $79,100 during the latest period, bringing his total to $285,900. In addition, an independent expenditure committee supporting Prang received a $10,000 contribution from trash company Athens Services and $5,000 from West Hollywood activist Ed Buck.

Omar Haroon, an appraiser in the office, reported collecting $28,600 in the most recent period, bringing his total to about $145,000.

Fundraising by Shriver, Kuehl and Duran shows that they are "viable candidates" to replace Yaroslavsky, said Raphael Sonenshein of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State Los Angeles.  None of them have the name recognition of Yaroslavsky, who is leaving due to term limits after 20 years in office.

"They don't have to match each other dollar for dollar,'' Sonenshein said. "You look at who has enough money to run a credible campaign."

Kuehl's report showed she had $383,000 in cash on hand and Duran had $126,000. Duran said his fundraising was sufficient to tell his story to the moderate Democrats, Republicans and independents he is targeting in the primary. "I'm in the hunt,'' he said.

Kuehl noted that, unlike Shriver, she hasn't put her own money in her campaign. "I'm very grateful to my friends and supporters who dig deep in order to make certain that elections are not simply won by the wealthy,'' she said.

Shriver has been running TV ads touting his candidacy on cable and local broadcast networks for weeks, as well as sending mailers to voters most likely to cast ballots. Kuehl and Duran have also sent out mailers in recent weeks.

Kuehl's donors include a large share of labor interests, professionals and people she's worked with in her 14 years as a state lawmaker. Duran is receiving money from small business owners, billboard companies, municipal service contractors and development interests.

Gomez, who is a registered Republican, received a large share of his contributions from businesses in the San Gabriel Valley, and $1,500 from the El Monte police officers' union.

Solis' support came from a variety of business and labor interests – including $1,500 from Central City Assn., a powerful downtown business group, and $1,500 from the Utility Workers Union of America – as well as from nonprofits and local officials from cities within the east county district.

Times researcher Maloy Moore contributed to this report.