Political Party Spending On Candidates

The San Diego County Democratic and Republican parties spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each election to support or oppose candidates running for office.

Scroll through or search the table to see how much money the parties have spent on each candidate from January 2011 through the June 5, 2018, primary. Some candidates received financial support from the parties over multiple years, running for different offices. Their names only appear once in the table.

Former state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a county Board of Supervisors candidate this year, has received more financial support from the Democratic Party than any other candidate has in the data — a total of $973,000.

Source: The Secretary of State’s Office

Methodology: How we crunched the numbers

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Democratic Party spent 37 times the contribution limit on Nathan Fletcher. And it’s legal.

By Jill Castellano | inewsource

It’s not a normal year in San Diego politics.

The San Diego County Democratic Party spent $958,000 supporting Board of Supervisors candidate Nathan Fletcher leading up to the June primary.

That’s more money than the county Republican and Democratic parties have spent on any other candidate this decade, according to an inewsource analysis.

It’s also 37 times the maximum amount of money that political parties are allowed to give county supervisor candidates: $25,950.

So how did Fletcher get nearly $1 million in support from the local Democratic Party — and he’ll get more for his November runoff with Republican Bonnie Dumanis — when the contribution limit is so much smaller than that?

The Democrats used a part of California’s campaign finance law called “member communications.” Republicans use it all the time, too. It’s existed for decades and has allowed both parties to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into San Diego races despite efforts by local governments to curb party spending.

Rather than contributing directly to candidates’ campaigns, California’s political parties can spend unlimited amounts of money telling people who they should vote for, so long as they’re only communicating with members of their own party. They can even coordinate and strategize with the candidates on what exactly to do with the funds.

This type of spending is especially difficult to track. To gather data on member communications in San Diego County, inewsource compiled more than 3,400 transactions by hand that were listed on more than 120 financial reports the local parties have filed with the Secretary of State’s Office since 2011.

Read the full story here.

Photo by Michael Matti, via Flickr.

Download the data here.

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