The candidates vying to earn the District 14 seat on the Los Angeles City Council are on the final leg of their campaign, with the March 3 primary election situated just over the horizon.
With Downtown in the mix for CD14, plenty of funds have been floating around the five candidates in contention, with the contenders sparring over where the contributions are coming from.
One of the more readily available indicators for how well a candidate will do in a race is the amount of funds available in their campaign warchest.
Former state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León has the deepest pockets of any of the candidates running for the CD14 seat and, as of press time on Friday, Feb. 21, none of the other four candidates are even close to the frontrunner.
According to data from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, de León has amassed $763,408 in campaign contributions, with the average contribution being about $560. Of course, it’s not as if the candidate is simply sitting on those funds. According to the most recent candidate expenditure forms, de Léon has already spent $711,292 on a variety of outreach strategies including mailers and internet ads.
The campaign finances reported by the Ethics Commission include contributions under $100, grants made by the city as part of its matching fund program and personal contributions.
Los Angeles Unified School Board member Mónica Garcia has amassed the second most amount of contributions of the five candidates — $346,123 — with an average contribution of about $450. A $128,046 matching funds contribution makes up a large chunk of Garcia’s warchest. Garcia has spent $277,000 as of Feb. 15.
Cyndi Otteson, who currently works as an advertising executive, co-founded the refugee focused nonprofit Miry’s List and has previously served as vice president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, has raised $122,811 as of press time, with an average contribution of $481. That includes a $70,500 matching funds contribution made to the candidate. Otteson has spent $119,000.
Teacher and counselor Raquel Zamora has earned the fourth most in the race, raising just $17,211, with an average contribution of $349 and John Jimenez, a nonprofit executive who is running for the Council District 14 seat for a second time, has no campaign contributions listed, according to the Ethics Commission.
Zamora, Otteson and Jimenez have noted in previous debates and interviews, their pledges not to take campaign contributions from developers, a sticking point in the wake of an FBI raid of sitting councilman Jose Huizar’s City Hall and Boyle Heights offices, as well as his home. Although no charges have been filed as of press time, the scope of the investigation according to a FBI search warrant seems to loop in developer kickbacks in Downtown Los Angeles.
The primary election is on March 3 and if no one receives the majority of the vote, a runoff will be held during the November general election.