Merced County sheriff candidate Soria files finance papers a month late

Merced County sheriff candidate Jim Soria filed his first campaign finance disclosure documents Tuesday, more than a month late.

Soria, 45, is one of four candidates on the June ballot hoping to become the next Merced County sheriff.

According to records at the Merced County Elections Office, the “Soria for Sheriff” campaign filed its disclosure documents about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The deadline was March 24.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission received a formal complaint regarding Soria’s failure to file disclosure documents on April 23, spokesman Jay Wierenga confirmed.

“We are reviewing the complaint,” Wierenga said. “Not all complaints turn into investigations.”

Soria said last week he was not aware that his financial disclosure documents had not been filed until contacted by the Merced Sun-Star. He said he was not sure why the legally required paperwork had not been filed on time.

He did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Soria also said last week that, despite not filing the documents, his campaign had been raising and spending money.

The documents filed this week show the campaign raised $1,150 during the Jan. 10 to March 17 reporting period. During that time, Soria’s campaign reported spending $815.80, mostly on campaign materials such as banners and lawn signs.

Soria told the Sun-Star that, as of last week, he had raised a total of “about $2,000.”

During the first reporting period, Pat Lunney reported raising the most money at $28,115 in financial and nonmonetary contributions. His campaign spent $15,189.75, documents show.

Frank Swiggart raised the second highest total, $21,075. He spent $16,146.65, records show.

Vern Warnke raised $11,433 and spent $6,922.30, according to disclosure documents.

Fundraising continues for all candidates. The next financial disclosure deadline is May 22.