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Torres Leads in Building Campaign War Chest

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With a big boost from organized labor, state Sen. Art Torres raised $332,932 to jump ahead of the other candidates in fund raising for the Jan. 22 election that will place a Latino on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, according to campaign finance reports released Thursday.

The statements, covering fund-raising through Jan. 5, show that Los Angeles City Councilwoman Gloria Molina collected $244,668 and that Sarah Flores, a former aide to retiring Supervisor Pete Schabarum, raised $142,371. A spokesperson for state Sen. Charles M. Calderon said the senator raised $111,942.

Torres’ fund raising took off after a Superior Court judge Dec. 28 lifted a $1,000-a-person campaign contribution limit. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the county’s biggest labor union, Service Employees International Union, Local 660.

That same day, the union presented a $25,000 check to Torres, who has pledged to oppose any more private contracting of county jobs.

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Local 660 also has been spending additional money to conduct an independent campaign to elect Torres, a Democrat, and end a decade of Republican control of the county board. The union is targeting its members who live in the district, Local 660 general manager Sharon Grimpe Correll said.

“We’re calling. We’re mailing at least once a week. We’re doing our own vote-by-mail campaign,” she said.

Torres also received a $15,000 loan from Assemblyman Richard Polanco’s (D-Los Angeles) political fund.

The figures are already out of date. Flores, for example, held a fund-raiser Tuesday night that swelled her campaign coffers by $125,000, campaign manager Eric Rose said.

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The reports show Molina, with strong backing from women’s groups, had $127,765 left in the bank for a mail blitz in the critical final days before the election.

Torres reported having $90,854 cash on hand, but he also listed $115,192 in unpaid bills. Flores had $33,057 cash on hand and $102,877 in outstanding debts.

The election in a redrawn 1st District was ordered by a federal judge who ruled that the old district lines denied the county’s 3 million Latinos political representation on the county board.

Contributors to Torres included the Los Angeles County District Council of Carpenters, $10,000; Los Angeles County Firefighters Local 1014, $5,000; Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Assn. PAC, $5,000; the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., $2,000, and the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, $1,000.

Molina’s donors included Assemblywoman Lucille Roybal-Allard’s political fund, $5,000, and the National Women’s Political Caucus, Westside political action committee, $2,500.

Contributors to Flores included the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., $2,000; and the Watson Land Co., $4,000.


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