Although almost a dozen people have filed to run for San Diego Mayor in 2020, three have emerged as the top fundraisers: La Jolla resident and City Council member Barbara Bry, Assembly member Todd Gloria, and community volunteer Tasha Williamson — all Democrats.
For the race, Gloria raised $650,000 and Bry raised $541,000 during in the first seven months of the year, according to campaign contribution disclosures submitted in early August. Williamson had the third highest total with $675.
On Aug. 20, the San Diego County Democratic Party voted by 71 percent to endorse Gloria, the top fundraiser by more than $100,000.
According to the City’s “major funding” list, which identifies individuals and entities that contributed $10,000 or more to a candidate, some of Gloria’s major donors include: Laborers’ International Union of North America – Local 89 Political Action Fund and Southern California District Council of Laborers PAC ($50,000 each); Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition PAC ($25,000); Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation ($15,000); and California Apartment Association PAC, Evan Low for Assembly 2020 and Mel Katz ($10,000 each).
Gloria has also hosted fundraisers.
Bry’s campaign committee released a Campaign Disclosure Statement covering the period Jan. 1 to June 30, reporting a total of $531,591 in contributions. When the $10,000 she contributed to her campaign prior to Jan. 1 is included, contributions to the committee total $541,591.29 from a total of 1,191 contributors.
“Ninety-four percent (1,119) of my contributors live in San Diego County, and 77 percent (912) live in the City of San Diego,” Bry announced in a press release. “My contributors range from 565 under $100 to several at the maximum of $1,150.
“This report reflects the tremendous enthusiasm and diversity of support I’ve received from voters who are tired of career politicians and politics-as-usual at City Hall and want transparency, accountability, improved neighborhood services and an expanded innovation economy to move our City forward.”
Williamson is a 47-year-old Democrat from Encanto in Southeast San Diego, who plans to run a grassroots campaign to win a place in a City government, which she says has lacked courage in recent years.
“What’s driving me is that I looked at who put their name up for the campaign to run and I’ve watched how they’ve been elected officials, and they haven’t impacted people who are poor in a positive way, people who are black, people who are Latino, people who have disabilities, people who are homeless,” Williamson told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “No one has changed anything.”
District 1 City Council race
Seeking the District 1 Council seat — representing La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines and University City — four Democrats each raised enough to be considered credible candidates heading into the March 2020 primary. The seat is open because Bry, who has held the seat since 2016, decided to run for mayor instead of seeking re-election.
Carmel Valley attorney Will Moore leads the campaign fundraising for District 1 with $78,833, raised only through private individuals, he said.
“We held some fundraisers, but I also told everyone I knew for the past 46 years about the campaign,” Moore told La Jolla Light, adding that the total comes from 450 donors. “I’m thrilled to be leading the D1 candidates in fundraising.”
Moore is president of the Carmel Valley Democratic Club, and a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, Business for Good, San Diego Leadership Alliance, The Urban League Young Professionals, and the American Constitution Society.
As of July 31, La Jolla community volunteer and civil engineer Joe LaCava raised $62,369. According to his Campaign Disclosure Statement, 95 percent came from San Diego City residents — the highest percentage raised locally by leading candidates.
“I’m humbled by the outpouring of support for my campaign and proud of the broad support we’ve received thus far,” LaCava said. “Throughout my years of community engagement, I’ve facilitated dialogue by encouraging everyone to be at the table, and this report reflects that engagement.”
LaCava has served as a trustee of the La Jolla Community Planning Association and San Diego Community Planners Committee.
La Jolla resident and firefighter Aaron Brennan brought in $56,000 in the first six months of 2019 — $46,000 from grassroots contributions from individuals — and the remaining $10,000 from a loan to get the campaign started.
“I’m incredibly humbled by the nearly 300 contributions we’ve received so far,” he told the Light. “The vast majority of my donations are from San Diegans and our average contribution amount is under $200.”
Brennan is a La Jolla Town Council trustee and previously told the Light he decided to run to improve the City’s approach to public safety.
University City entrepreneur Harid “H” Puentes raised $20,348 in his first filing, adding most of the funds came from private donations from about 140 donors.
“Donors represent the broad coalition behind our campaign. They consist of local community leaders, well-known tech and biotech executives in the District, and first-time donors who are interested in getting involved in our democracy,” he said.
His interest in higher office, he explained, started with an experience he had working with the City (seeing the good and the bad side of operations). He seeks to bring a humanistic approach to City Hall, while embracing San Diego’s innovation sector.
University City entrepreneur Lily Zhou has raised $700, but said she would concentrate on fundraising next month. “I am focusing more on working with the communities and getting things done, right now,” she told the Light.
University City resident and retired architect Louis Rodolico said he was just starting to fundraise with $500 of his own money, thus far.
The primary election is March 3, 2020; the general election is Nov. 3, 2020.