Anti-LGBT money surfaces in mayoral raceFeature Story, Top Highlights Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
The race to succeed termed out Mayor Jerry Sanders is turning out to be an historic election. Two of the major candidates are members of the LGBT community. Both are Republicans; they are openly lesbian District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and openly gay City Councilman Carl DeMaio.
Yet it is the remaining two straight candidates vying for the mayor’s office – Democratic Congressman Bob Filner and Republican state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher – who have been endorsed by two of the most high-profile local LGBT political groups. San Diego Democrats for Equality has endorsed Bob Filner, while the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego County endorsed Nathan Fletcher in October of last year.
According to each of the campaigns’ disclosures, the candidates have raised a total of $2,380,552.83. Leading in both fundraising and polling, Carl DeMaio raised $965,943.50 in 2011 besting his nearest rival, Nathan Fletcher, who raised $744,373.21. Bonnie Dumanis came in third place with $462,749.00, and trailing far behind was Bob Filner who raised just $213,487.12. Councilmember DeMaio’s total includes a personal contribution of $405,792. This means that Nathan Fletcher, who trails in the polls, bested the front-runner by $184,221.71 in non-personal contributions.
We know how much the candidates have raised; but where is all that money coming from? Perhaps more importantly, does any of it come from donors who have financed anti-LGBT equality causes?
San Diego LGBT Weekly took a look at contributions made to campaigns and political action committees controlled by the four mayoral candidates.
Some community activists – especially those loyal to DeMaio – have called into question contributions to Nathan Fletcher by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his family who have made large contributions to anti-LGBT causes.
Yet, we found, through a search of public campaign finance records, that 42 individuals who donated to Proposition 8 also donated an aggregate amount of $121,245 to committees controlled by DeMaio – including $11,245 that was donated by 41 individuals to Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2012.
One of those individuals, Brian Caster, gave $10,000 to Reforming City Hall with Carl DeMaio. Developer and now Union Tribune owner, Doug Manchester gave $100,000 to a campaign committee controlled by DeMaio in 2005, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Brian Caster is a member of the same family who owns “A-1 Self Storage” and who donated $693,000 to Proposition 8 proponents in 2008.
Doug Manchester’s former property, the Manchester Hyatt, was famously boycotted by several groups because he donated $125,000 in support of Prop. 8.
Contributions in support of Proposition 8 that were donated by “the DeMaio 42” total more than $890,000.
San Diego LGBT Weekly also found that Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s campaign committee accepted donations from 15 individuals who also gave to Proposition 8. One of those donors, Claire K.T. Reiss, the owner and president of Reisung Enterprises, gave an eye-popping $1 million to support Prop. 8. Reiss and her fellow Prop. 8 proponents gave a total of $7,900 to Nathan Fletcher for Mayor 2012.
Among donors who have supported the Bonnie Dumanis for Mayor 2012 campaign are three individuals who gave a total of $800 to the Dumanis campaign, and a total of $2,900 toward the campaign to get Prop. 8 passed.
The only candidate who had no Proposition 8 financial supporters on his donor list was the lone Democrat, Congressman Bob Filner.
It is important to note that each candidate has expressed support for LGBT causes including marriage equality. Donations to candidate campaign committees can be found on the City of San Diego’s Web site and donations to Proposition 8 were found in disclosures filed with the California secretary of state’s office.
(Disclosure: Will Rodriguez-Kennedy is a supporter of Nathan Fletcher for Mayor and a former independent contractor for Reforming City Hall with Carl DeMaio.)
|Candidate||Overall money raised in 2011||Total funds raised from contributors who gave to anti-LGBT causes||Total funds contributors gave to anti-LGBT causes|
|Councilman Carl DeMaio (R)||$965,943.50||$121,245||$1,240,066|
|Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R)||$744,373.21||$7,900||$1,044,074|
|District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis (R)||$462,749.00||$800||$2,900|
|Congressman Bob Filner (D)||$213,487.12||$0||$0|
Sources: City of San Diego; The Office of the Secretary of State of California, OpenSecrets.org and the Federal Election Commission.
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