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Shriver raises $1 million, Kuehl only half that in supervisors race

Shriver raises $1 million, Kuehl only half that in supervisors race
Supervisor candidates Bobby Shriver, left, and Sheila Kuehl are running for the seat being vacated by Zev Yaroslavsky. Shriver is a former mayor of Santa Monica. Kuehl served in the Legislature. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver has raised nearly twice as much money, a little more than $1 million, as his rival Sheila Kuehl, a former state lawmaker, in their campaign to succeed retiring Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in the Nov. 4 election.

About 4,000 contributors gave a maximum of $1,500 to Shriver's campaign between July 1 and Sept. 30 for a total of $1,031,005, according to reports for the latest campaign finance period.

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As in the past, Shriver's list of contributors included red-carpet celebrities, titans of entertainment and business, high-profile politicians, activists and a circle of his Kennedy and Shriver family relatives. He is the nephew of President Kennedy.

His list includes actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, music producer Lou Adler, billionaire philanthropists/businessmen George Soros and Eli Broad, economist Paul Volcker and Rep. Tony Cardenas, a Los Angeles Democrat.

As of the filing deadline Monday evening, Kuehl had not released her financial statement. But she said earlier in the day that she expected to show about $540,000 in contributions for the same period.

Shriver consultant Bill Carrick attributed Shriver's strong financial showing to a rising "momentum" in the campaign as the race heads into its final weeks.

"Bobby's moving around the county very energetically," Carrick said, referring to the candidate's frequent stops in the 3rd District, which includes the Westside and the San Fernando Valley.

"It's always a scramble to raise money, and this period covered two months of the summer doldrums," Carrick said. "We did very well."

Shriver reported that he has more than $800,000 in cash. Kuehl, who placed first among a crowded field in the June primary, said Monday that she wasn't worried about her rival's financial advantage.

Shriver came in second in the primary, seven points behind her, despite spending almost three times as much, she noted.

"It's not how much you have," she said. "It's how well you spend it."

Under county law, the candidates cannot raise more than $1,500 per contributor, or spend more than $1.4 million on the general election campaign. But two so-called independent expenditure committees are free from those limits and are raising money in larger chunks.

A labor-backed group, Local Experience We Trust, has raised more than $900,000 to support Kuehl's run. It is funded by public employee unions who represent about half of the 100,000 workers in county government. Nearly a quarter of the funding, $250,000, was provided by one union and its affiliates, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The federation was a sponsor of a bill this year that would have essentially overridden a decision by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to rework how the county's Employee Relations Commission is appointed. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill.

Kuehl said federation representatives have not asked her to return the county's appointment process to the old system, in which county managers and union leaders agreed on all three commission members. Nor has she made a decision on whether she would move to do so herself. "I would need to know a lot more about why the supervisors decided to change it," she said.

The Committee to Elect Bobby Shriver Supervisor has raised at least $581,000, campaign finance records show. It is financed by business interests and at least two private-sector trade unions.

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The groups are using the money to buy print, cable and TV advertising to support the candidate, records show.

For more campaign news, follow @csaillant2

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