Campaign Financing: Lyons outpaces all candidates in total cash

Campaign dollars continue flowing to an open county supervisor's race, whose candidates are raising and spending far more than others this year in Stanislaus County.

Hoping to succeed outgoing Supervisor Jeff Grover, Bill Lyons pulled in $266,300 this year alone. That's far more than the combined totals of his opponent, three candidates in another supervisor's race and two running for sheriff.

Lyons, a well-connected former state agriculture secretary, Modesto Irrigation District board member and county Farm Bureau president, said he's accepted contributions from nearly 500 donors.

"I'm very proud of that," he said Friday. Although his campaign bank account dwarfs those in all other county races this year, it's comparable to spending in competitive contests of years past, he said.

His opponent in District 3, Terry Withrow, is raising and spending money at about one-third Lyons' level, but that's still far more than the combined totals in District 4, where incumbent Dick Monteith is seeking a second term.

The amount of money spent in the past two months in the Lyons-Withrow race, where the victor will represent one of five county districts, is roughly $100,000 more than the combined total in the campaign for sheriff, who covers the entire county.

Challenger Rob Jackson, a Turlock police captain, nearly doubled the amount raised by Sheriff Adam Christianson in the latest two-month reporting period that ended May 22. Jackson holds the edge for all contributions in 2010 as well. But the sheriff had much more left over from previous periods, allowing him to spend far more this year than Jackson -- $71,200 to $46,800.

Jackson lent his campaign $7,000 in the latest period.

Lyons' businesses have loaned his campaign more than $56,000 this year, more than the total amount raised by all three candidates in the other supervisorial race. Lyons said he owes it to his family and supporters to prove that he is "fully engaged, financially too."

Five candidates in a lower-profile contest for a judgeship raised a combined $150,000, with more than a third of that claimed by attorney Geoffrey Hutcheson. A sixth candidate did not file disclosure forms.

Monteith, a former state senator, relied on old friends to pull in nearly twice the amount of Balvino Irizarry, a former Modesto city councilman. Monteith accepted $1,000 from fellow Supervisor Bill O'Brien's former campaign and from the business of former Supervisor Ray Simon, plus smaller amounts from Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers, Stanislaus County Employees Retirement Association administrator Tom Watson and former Supervisor Nick Blom.

Irizarry seemed to focus on office holders, with recent contributions from Turlock City Councilman Ted Howze; Modesto City Schools board members Sue Zwahlen, Ruben Villalobos and former board member Paul Neumann; former Modesto City Councilman Denny Jackman and former Oakdale City Councilman Elmo Garcia.

Former Modesto Mayor Carmen Sabatino, competing with Monteith and Irizarry, raised $7,950 in the latest period, including loans of $200 from himself and $3,600 from the Mediterranean Market & Grill.

Cash vs. supporters

Auditor-controller candidate Lauren Klein gave her campaign $16,900 and accepted $5,000 from a relative. Rick Dahlseid raised and spent less for that race, but gathered donations from far more supporters.

County Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan received much less in the latest period than challenger Terry Harwell, $2,800 to $12,600. Lundrigan had raised far more in previous periods for a total of $51,600 this year; Harwell had raised only $100 previously.

Dave Cogdill, who is leaving the state Senate and running unopposed for county assessor, relied on political action committees to bring in most of his $21,000.

Notable contributions:

Lyons received $4,000 from Turlock's Dennis Buchanan; $3,500 from Bert and Gretchen Johnson of Los Gatos; $3,000 from members of Ceres' Franzia family; $1,500 from American Recycling Co. of Ceres, Jeff Arambel of Patterson and Martin Reyes of Winton; and $1,125 from Mark Purdom of Modesto.

Lyons received $1,000 from Supervisors Jeff Grover and Vito Chiesa. Others at that level came from Bates Properties of Monterey and the Stringer Co. of Danville, both of whom want to build in Salida; Ratto Bros., Fagundes Dairy, ALK Miller Bros., Smart Stop Food Mart and William Garton.

Dignitaries contributing to Lyons include Irizarry, Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse, Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, Modesto City Councilmen David Geer and Garrad Marsh, Modesto City Schools board members Villalobos and Kim Spina and former board member Odessa Johnson, and former county Supervisor Nick Blom.

Withrow received $1,500 from Four Seasons Nursery owner Ann Endsley, $1,250 from Ann Dykzeul of Modesto and $1,000 from Raymond Cimino of Modesto, in-law Joel Maring of Patterson, Robert Forester of St. Luke's Family Practice in Modesto and Modesto farmer Jan de Witte.

Monteith accepted $1,500 from Harold Arambel of Westley. Monteith's $1,000 donors are Modesto builders Calvin Bright of Bright Development and Timothy Coppedge of Modern Steel Structures; Wilmar Jensen, Michael McNulty, the Stringer Co. of Danville and Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

E.&J. Gallo Winery gave $1,000 each to Monteith and Lyons.

Modesto's Cohen family gave $6,000 to Irizarry. He received $1,000 from Ceres' El Rematito, Gregory Fields Jr., Georgia Chapman, Linda Alexander, Alicia Shepherd and Joe Souza.

Modesto land-use attorney George Petrulakis gave $1,000 each to Monteith and Christianson.

The sheriff received small amounts from Undersheriff Bill Heyne, Tom Berryhill's Senate campaign and Kristin Olsen's Assembly campaign, and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Chief Stephen Mayotte.

Christianson donated $1,250 to a Hispanic Leadership Council scholarship.

Eleven current or former sheriff's officers contributed to Jackson in the current period. He received $1,000 from Turlock attorney Axel Gomez.

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