Thanks to a big roster of small contributors and a sizable chunk from his own pocket, Los Angeles County supervisorial candidate Bobby Shriver has jumped ahead of rival Sheila Kuehl in gathering campaign cash for the race to replace incumbent Zev Yaroslavsky, finance statements show.
In addition to donating $300,000 of his own money, Shriver collected $547,736 from a list that reads like a who's who of the entertainment industry, including talk show host Oprah Winfrey, actor Tom Hanks and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
On the Eastside, meanwhile, former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis continued to dominate in her push to succeed Supervisor Gloria Molina. Solis has raised $627,577 since last year for her campaign, more than 10 times the funding of her closest competitor, records show.
Assessor's candidate Jeffrey Prang has raised a total of $206,745, including more than $81,000 since Jan. 1. Finance reports from other assessor's candidates were not available.
Shriver, a late entry in the contest to win Yarovslavky's office, is tapping a wide network of supporters. Members of his politically prominent family — he is a nephew of President John F. Kennedy — are heavily represented, as are figures from business, entertainment and charities.
In all, 1,993 donors have given to Shriver's campaign since he announced his candidacy in late January. His donors gave $300 or less each. That's the maximum permitted for his campaign after Shriver, a former Santa Monica City Council member, rejected voluntary spending limits and added his own large donation.
Kuehl, a former state senator, reported collecting a total of $717,000 as of the latest reporting deadline Monday, primarily from lawyers, professors and other professionals. She has been actively campaigning and raising money for about a year. West Hollywood Councilman John Duran has raised just over $187,000, reports show.
As the race moves toward the June 3 primary election, Shriver has $639,712 in cash available while Kuehl has $429,877 and Duran $140,824. Five other candidates in the race are expected to raise lesser amounts.
If no one receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will compete in a November runoff.
Bill Carrick, Shriver's consultant, said Shriver has many supporters from his years of activism. He worked for the Special Olympics, started by his late mother Eunice Shriver, and built nonprofit groups with U2 singer Bono aimed at relieving poverty and providing AIDS medicines in Africa.
"He's somebody who is connected to a lot of people who share his commitment to trying to do things that are really meaningful,'' Carrick said.
Kuehl said she was thankful for the support she had received and noted she had several more fundraising events planned. "I'm very proud of the thousands of small donors who continue to support me and will do so right up to June 3,'' she said.
Kuehl had been limited to raising $1,500 per donor until Shriver declared he would partially self-fund his campaign. Now, under county election rules, she can accept unlimited donations.
Last week, Kuehl received a $75,000 contribution from the California Nurses Assn., a Sacramento group that advocates on behalf of the state's nursing profession. During her years in the Legislature, Kuehl wrote a law that set nurse-to-patient ratios and twice attempted to pass a universal healthcare law.
Duran, a defense lawyer, said he's not worried about being outspent. Voters in the 3rd district, ranging from Hollywood to the Westside and north to the San Fernando Valley, are paying attention and highly educated, he said. "I don't think they vote for the person who drops the most mail, but for who they agree with on the issues."
In the race to succeed Molina, Solis raised close to $110,000 since Jan. 1. She has $428,645 in cash on hand.
El Monte City Councilman Juventino "J" Gomez, who entered the race in late January, reported raising $54,811, including a $14,600 loan from himself. Much of his funding was transferred from his City Council campaign account.
Solis is being supported by labor and business groups and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Ridley-Thomas gave Solis $1,500 as did his son, state Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.