Candidate coffers grow as election looms

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

The Republican candidates running to represent local residents in both federal and state offices have seen a strong flow of donations so far as they head into the November elections, campaign finance reports show.

Friday was the most recent deadline for campaign finance disclosure forms, and so far the paperwork shows the 5th Assembly District, one of few all-GOP runoffs in the state this year, has drawn considerable money.

Madera County Supervisor Frank Bigelow, of O'Neals, received contributions of $259,023.18 for the period between July 1 and Sept. 30. His largest contributions were $7,800 each from the California Dental Political Action Committee and the California Real Estate PAC.

Among Bigelow's top 20 donations throughout the campaign are $3,900 each from the California Cattlemen's Association, Pacific Gas and Electric, the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, grocer Food4Less and a 2014 lieutenant governor campaign committee for Turlock Congressman Jeff Denham.

Former Assemblyman and State Senator Rico Oller, of San Andreas, received $74,451.50 from July 1 to Sept. 30. His largest contribution was $7,800 from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association PAC.

Also among Oller's top 20 overall donors are the Tom McClintock congressional campaign ($5,900), California Correctional Peace Officers Association ($3,900), Calaveras Telephone Company in Copperopolis ($3,900), Burnell Wealth Management, owned by Cory Burnell of Valley Springs ($3,000), Twain Harte retirees Roger and Judy Haughton ($2,500 each), and Material Ventures, Oller's own business ($2,450).

An independent PAC, the Mother Lode Taxpayers Association Committee, funded by the California Dental PAC and the California Real Estate PAC and supporting Bigelow, dropped $2,109 Aug. 30 on radio air-time and productions costs.

In the race for House of Representatives District 4, the latest data available from the Federal Elections Commission shows fundraising through June 30. Republican Rep. Tom McClintock is outdrawing Democratic opponent Jack Uppal by a large margin, according to the latest data, with McClintock out-earning Uppal $864,546 to $25,956.

McClintock's campaign appears to be driven largely by individual donations, though records show political action committee donations including $6,500 from AT&T, $6,000 from Citizens United, $5,000 from Valero, $3,000 from Comcast Corp., $4,500 from Occidental Petroleum Corp., and $2,000 from PG&E.

Uppal's most recent finance records show no political action committee contributions so far. For him, the largest contributions include $1,000 each from retirees Steven Parke, Curt Engelhand and Malini Hakhu.

On a local level, most candidates have not yet turned in the financial forms due on Friday. With two Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors races and nine people running for Tuolumne Utilities District, only supervisorial candidate Domenic Torchia had turned in his campaign paperwork as of late Friday afternoon according to the County Elections Office.

Torchia is running for the District 5 seat against Karl Rodefer, with Supervisor Liz Bass and challenger Sherri Brennan facing off for District 1.

The Union Democrat
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