CITY HALL — Fundraising for Tuesday’s Glendale City Council race remains far behind the levels reached in 2007, the last time two seats on the council were up for grabs, but it has advanced significantly from where it was just four weeks ago.
As of March 19, former Glendale City Councilman Rafi Manoukian had the largest campaign war chest, with $32,156 raised between Jan. 1 and March 19, according to the latest campaign finance filings filed with the city clerk’s office. That total is nearly 75% less than the roughly $121,000 Manoukian raised for the same period in his 2007 campaign, in which he ultimately lost his seat.
Manoukian, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, has said he is taking a more grassroots approach to this campaign and putting less of a focus on building up a massive war chest.
Incumbent Councilmen John Drayman and Dave Weaver were close behind, with $26,293 and $23,808, respectively, according to the filings, while challengers Garen Mailyan, Chahe Keuroghelian and Mike Mohill trail with $7,790, $3,000 and $1,420, respectively.
While the latest fundraising totals show an improvement to last month’s figures — when Weaver led the field with roughly $9,000 raised — the totals are still dramatically lower than the 2007 campaign.
The six candidates have raised a combined $94,467, less than a third of the money raised during the same time period of the 2007 campaign, according to campaign disclosure forms.
Candidates have attributed the anemic levels to the protracted recession, but also to stricter campaign finance rules, which include a $1,000 limit on contributions, passed by the City Council in 2008. While the regulations affected a portion of the 2009 election fundraising period, the election on April 5 is the first cycle to come entirely under the new rules.
“I said it when we adopted these new regulations, it was going to dramatically affect council elections,” Weaver said on Monday.
The latest disclosure forms show that more than 70% of Weaver’s campaign cash has come from individuals and businesses located outside the city of Glendale or La Crescenta, compared to roughly a third for Manoukian and roughly a quarter for Drayman.
Weaver said the new rules have forced him to expand his fundraising reach, adding that companies that do business with the city are barred from donating.
“People that are doing business in Glendale, like Rick Caruso, they can’t give me a penny,” he said. “You have to use everything at your disposal.”
Caruso funneled $17,500 to Weaver’s re-election campaign in the first half of 2007, but that was before the new rules were adopted.
Drayman also said the new fundraising climate has forced him to look outside Glendale, hitting up friends, family and other people he has worked with throughout the years.
“You really do have to reach out, I think, if you are going to raise the funds to have the campaign,” he said. “It really has come to that, unfortunately.”
The campaign cash is important, candidates said, to pay for the signs, advertisements and mailings that traditionally remind voters to hit the polls on April 5.
“I would prefer to have every dollar come from someone in Glendale,” Weaver said. “But the reality is…a lot of people still don’t know there is an election.”
A look at the top three fundraisers
Funds from non-Glendale donors: $10,794
Some top donors:
Pasadena-based attorney Vicken Simonian, $1,000
Adam Schiff for Congress, $1,000
Glendale based-Realtor Vazrik Bonyadi, $1,000
Funds from non-Glendale donors: $6,850
Some top donors:
Simi Valley residents Barry and Patricia Becker, $2,000
Glendale-based Ho and S Construction, $1,000
Washington D.C.-based attorney Leonard Baxt, $1,000
Funds from non-Glendale donors: $16,800
Some top donors:
Creative Plastics, a Gardena-based firm, $1,000
Hocean Inc., a Commerce-based grocery company, $1,000
Jaime Ashton, a real estate broker at AFC Commercial, and his wife, Kimberly Ashton, $2,000