COAST CITIES — Recently released financial documents show Dave Roberts edging out Steve Danon in campaign contributions from July 1 to Sept. 30 in the race for San Diego County Board of Supervisor’s District 3 seat. But Danon’s camp says Roberts’ numbers are misleading.
Roberts raised $186,000 and spent $80,000 from July to September. His campaign contributions totaled $458,000 this year, while he’s spent $373,000.Of the $458,000 in total campaign contributions, $99,000 comes from loans that Roberts made to his own campaign earlier this year.
A Solana Beach Councilman and Democrat, Roberts began his bid for Supervisor in January of this year. His cash balance at the end of September was $128,000.
Respectively, Danon, chief of staff for Rep. Brian Bilbray and a Republican, raised $131,000 and spent $96,000 from September to July. His tally for campaign contributions this year is $283,000 and he’s spent $352,000. Since he began campaigning in 2009, Danon has raised about $465,000.
Danon’s total does not include any personal loans; he reported a cash balance of $105,000 as of late September.
Danon’s campaign spokeswoman Elise Dufresne argued Roberts’ numbers from July to September are inflated. She said $38,000 counted from this time period should be deducted from Roberts’ figures for campaign contributions and cash on hand. The $38,000 is being used to pay off debts from June’s primary election, and therefore cannot be used in the general election, Dufresne said.
“He really doesn’t have that much cash on hand,” Dufresne said. “Digging deeper reveals his totals are overstated.”
Additionally, she stated that $60,000 of Roberts’ loans to himself shouldn’t be included in his campaign contribution and cash on hand totals, even though that money can be used in the general election.
“I don’t think loans should be counted as campaign contributions,” Dufresne said. “It didn’t come from outside supporters.”
Gary Gartner, Roberts’ spokesman, acknowledged that $38,000 of the campaign contributions from the most recent reporting period will repay debts from the primary election. However, he said the campaign is following rules by including Roberts’ loans in campaign contribution totals.
“That’s what you’re supposed to do; we’re not trying to hide anything,” Gartner said.
“We’re reporting all contributions according to Fair Political Practices Commission guidelines,” he said in a follow-up interview.
Gartner said Roberts’ campaign started at the first of the year; meanwhile, Danon has been running for three years and is “probably concerned he’s being beaten in fundraising.”
Danon took in 34 percent of the primary vote, while Roberts secured 31 percent, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
Both candidates are seeking to succeed Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, who crossed party lines to endorse Roberts in the spring. Among others, Roberts’ endorsements have come from Carlsbad Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin and former city of San Diego Councilwoman Donna Frye.
Danon has received a large number of endorsements that include city of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, former California Governor Pete Wilson and Supervisor Ron Roberts to name a few.
The five-member Board of Supervisors addresses budget matters, parks, policy issues and health concerns in San Diego County.