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CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS / 72ND ASSEMBLY DISTRICT : Yudelson Donations Mostly From L.A. County

TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

Jerry Yudelson, who has campaigned as the Democrat with the deepest roots in central Orange County’s 72nd Assembly District, received most of his contributions over the past two months from Los Angeles County, according to campaign finance statements.

The bulk of the money that Yudelson raised in the two-month period ended May 19 came from the entertainment community, in which his wife has worked as an actress.

Several celebrities are on the contribution list, including Leonard Nimoy, James Brolin, Alan Rachins, Corbin Bernson, Gary Busey and Peggy Lipton Jones. Rachins, who stars with Bernson on the television show “L.A. Law,” hosted a fund-raiser for Yudelson at his home in Pacific Palisades earlier this month.

“It’s just that this is not a wealthy district,” Yudelson said Saturday. “If you get 10% of your money out of this district, or 5%, you’d be doing good.”

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Yudelson reported that he received almost $15,000 in contributions of more than $100 each. Of that amount, less than $1,000 came from within the 72nd District.

Yudelson said most of his contributions of less than $100 are from within the district. Election laws do not require a candidate to disclose the identity of small donors, and Yudelson declined to release his list.

Yudelson reported $6,025 in small donations. With his larger donations and non-monetary contributions, he reported just over $27,000 raised during the two-month period.

The major theme of Yudelson’s campaign has been to compare his activities and ties within the district to those of his Democratic primary opponent, Tom Umberg. Umberg moved into the district from Irvine earlier this year to campaign for the seat held by Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove).

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The predominantly Democratic district includes parts of the cities of Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Stanton, Anaheim and Westminster.

The issue of carpetbagging looms as a theme that may carry through the general election, since Pringle has lived in Garden Grove for 22 years and Yudelson moved into the area shortly before his 1988 campaign against Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove).

“You have the choice between two carpetbaggers,” Pringle said. “I’ve lived here.”

Yudelson said the contributions he received from Los Angeles came largely because of his background as an environmentalist. He is an energy conservation consultant and was appointed to the state Solar Business Office in 1978 by then-Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.

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“My biggest theme has been the environment, and there are a tremendous number of people interested in air pollution looking to pick up a vote in the Assembly on environmental issues,” Yudelson said.

Umberg, a former federal prosecutor, has emphasized a tough-on-crime campaign theme, and the bulk of his contributions in the recent two months came from lawyers. Umberg also received most of his money from outside the district, although his report included slightly more district donations than Yudelson’s.

Umberg had raised a total of about $49,000 during the period, including $1,155 in non-monetary contributions and $4,700 in donations under $100.

Umberg was not available for comment on Sunday.

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