Nevada County candidates take in big bucks |

Nevada County candidates take in big bucks

Keri Brenner
Staff Writer

Contractors, laborers and Tea Party-related groups were top contributors Monday in the latest round of campaign contributions for contested races in the June 3 primary elections.

Reports on contributions between Jan. 1 and March 17 were due in person or postmarked by the end of the day Monday at the Nevada County Elections Office.

Elise Strickler, senior clerk-recorder assistant, said some candidates' reports were not immediately available by midday Monday — either because they would come in at the last minute before the office closed, or because they would arrive by mail later this week.

In reports received by midday Monday, Nevada County District 4 Supervisor Hank Weston, who is being challenged by attorney Fran Cole and Jedediah Biagi, received a $5,000 contribution on March 12 from the Nevada County Contractors' Association political action committee.

Also, both Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson, one of five candidates for the open Nevada County Superior Court Judge seat, and Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell, who is being challenged for re-election by attorney David Alkire, each received $2,000 contributions in February from Americans for Good Government, a Grass Valley political action committee.

The group lists Stan Meckler, founder and former board member of the Nevada County Tea Party, as contributing $1,314 to the PAC. Meckler said he was not involved in any decisions on contributions to candidates.

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"I'm not on the board anymore or anything like that," said Meckler, whose son Mark Meckler was co-founder of the national Tea Party Patriots, A local Tea Party spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

In addition, Nevada County District 3 Supervisor Terry Lamphier, who is being challenged for re-election by Grass Valley Mayor Dan Miller, received a $1,500 contribution from Sacramento-based Laborer's Local 185 political action committee — a repeat of the same amount he received from the group in the last reporting period.

Also in the last reporting period, Lamphier on Sept. 30 received a $5,000 contribution from Carol Young, of Auburn-based Cyco Enterprises, developer of the planned Rincon Del Rio housing project in South County. Miller listed $650 in total cumulative contributions, including $150 for the current reporting period.

Weston, meanwhile, had not yet filed his full report by midday Monday. According to sources, he was filing by mail and the report was not expected to arrive until Tuesday.

One of Weston's challengers, Cole, posted $750 in contributions for the current reporting period, including $500 from the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council and $200 from Patricia Smith, chair of the Nevada County Americans for Safe Access, which recently gathered signatures on petitions to qualify for a November ballot measure to change the county's medical marijuana ordinance.

Despite the relatively small amount of contributions in the current reporting period, Cole raised more than $11,000 in the second half of 2013, said her campaign manager Max Norton.

"I strongly anticipate that we will have a wider donor base," Norton said Monday. "We have over 200 individual donors."

A second challenger to Weston, Biagi, had not yet filed a report by midday Monday.

Ferguson, meanwhile, received the highest amount of contributions reported so far out of the five candidates for the open Superior Court seat.

In addition to the $2,000 from Americans for Good Government, she also received $3,000 from her campaign treasurer, Barb Samardich of Nevada City, and $2,000 from Arn Samardich at the same address.

The other candidates are: Angela Bradrick, Jeff Ingram, Jeffrey Lake and Robert Tice-Rankin.

Newell, meanwhile, received a total of $10,739 in cash and nonmonetary contributions in the current reporting period. He had $37,448 in outstanding debts from the prior reporting period.

Besides the $2,000 from Americans for Good Government, he received $500 from retired Police Chief Louis Trovato of Nevada City, $1,000 from Don Joy of Nevada City and $1,000 from Grass Valley resident James Adams of Ray Morgan Co.

Alkire received a total of $12,124 in cash and loans in the current reporting period. He had $7,124 in monetary contributions and a $5,000 loan from himself.

His largest contributors were: $1,500 from attorney Michael Nudelman of Nevada City; $1,000 from attorney Russell Balisok of Toluca Lake; $500 from Siskiyou County Deputy District Attorney Gregory Weston; and $500 from Nevada County Supervising Deputy District Attorney William Cornell of Truckee.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email or call 530-477-4239.

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