Newport PACs spend $120,000 on City Council races

Newport PACs spend $120,000 on City Council races
Candidates for Newport Beach City Council kick off the forum series in August at the Newport Beach Central Library. (File Photo)

Local political action committees are putting financial firepower behind their preferred candidates for Newport Beach City Council, so far spending about $120,000 combined on four races.

Two key groups — one in support and the other in opposition of the incumbents — have raised $130,000 between them and spent about $62,000 ahead of the Nov. 6 election.


Meanwhile, three longer-established groups — the Newport Beach Police Employees Assn., the Newport Beach Firefighters Assn. and Line in the Sand — have spent about $58,000 on mailers and other support for their endorsed candidates.

Here are the highlights:


Taxpayers and Residents United for Newport Beach

  • Supports/Endorses/Opposes: Opposes Councilman Scott Peotter (District 6) and Mayor Marshall “Duffy” Duffield (District 3)

  • Contributions received this calendar year: $70,169

  • Expenditures made this calendar year: $30,572

This committee, which focuses on voting out incumbents Peotter and Duffield, benefitted largely from individuals unfettered by the donation limits imposed on candidate campaigns.

Its high-profile donors include former Newport Councilman Tony Petros ($10,000) and former mayors Rush Hill ($5,000), Keith Curry ($9,419) and Mike Henn ($5,000). Protecting Newport’s Future, the PAC formed for last year’s unsuccessful recall attempt against Peotter, chipped in $4,500.

Taxpayers and Residents United’s single largest gift was $15,000 from Newport Corporate Tower, a Delaware-registered corporation. The entity has spent about $28,000 on mailers — about $14,200 during the just-wrapped Sept. 23 to Oct. 20 reporting cycle and about $13,800 on Oct. 25.

The rest of its expenses went toward assorted administrative costs.

Taxpayers and Residents for Preserving the Quality of Life in Newport Beach

  • Supports/Endorses/Opposes: Supports Duffield, Peotter, and Councilman Kevin Muldoon (District 4)

  • Contributions received this calendar year: $72,937

  • Expenditures made this calendar year: $40,960

This similarly named and feathered group, trying to keep Peotter, Duffield and Muldoon in their seats, formed under a different name last year to defend Peotter against recall. It by far had the most support from any one entity: Conservative banking heir Howard Ahmanson of the Irvine-based Fieldstead & Co., which has given just shy of $50,000 on the year. The locally based Family Action PAC gave $10,000.

The pro-incumbent Taxpayers and Residents spent about $30,000 on several sets of mailers this month, plus literature and polling and survey research on Peotter’s opponent, Joy Brenner. The rest of its expenses went toward legal costs.

Line in the Sand

  • Supports/Endorses/Opposes: Endorses Tim Stoaks (District 3), Roy Englebrecht (District 4) and Brenner (District 6)

Line in the Sand is a political affiliate of the nonprofit activist group Still Protecting Our Newport, which generally supports environmental causes and takes a hard look at development.

Its expenditures specific to its endorsed council candidates — challengers Brenner, Stoaks and Englebrecht — have totaled about $30,000 this election. This covered several rounds of mailers and online ads rolled out throughout September and October, plus other literature. It also included a separate $1,100 donation directly to Englebrecht’s campaign.

Newport Beach Firefighters Assn.

  • Supports/Endorses/Opposes: Endorses Councilwoman Diane Dixon (District 1) and Muldoon

The firefighters spent about $14,800 on two rounds of mailers for Muldoon and Dixon. All of the association’s candidate-related activity was this month.

Newport Beach Police Employees Assn.

  • Supports/Endorses/Opposes: Endorses Dixon, Duffield, Muldoon and Peotter

The police, who endorsed all four incumbents, spent about $13,500 on a single round of mailers. Like the firefighters, all of the police association’s local political activity was this month.