Incumbent supervisors spend most |

Incumbent supervisors spend most

The race for Nevada County’s District 4 supervisor is on target to become the costliest in county history, campaign finance records show. Total spending by District 4 candidates totals $215,571 through Sept. 30.

If the war chests keep building and the money keeps flowing, the District 4 battle is likely to eclipse the most expensive race to date, the 2000 contest between Supervisor Peter Van Zant and challenger Greg Seghezzi. At roughly the same point in that race, the two had spent $188,000. By election day, the final tally was $267,582.

Supervisor Elizabeth Martin was far and away the biggest spender, with $161,055 so far, including television commercials.

Her challenger, Robin Sutherland, has been hitting the radio airwaves, and putting out lots of literature.

The incumbent supervisors up for election – Martin and Bruce Conklin – have managed to raise and spend more than their challengers.

District 3 challenger Drew Bedwell has paid for television and radio ads, while his opponent, Supervisor Conklin, had not plugged into the electronic media as of Sept. 30, but had pumped out literature and held campaign events.

Candidates’ fund-raising has paid for campaign events, auction items, mailings, wine-tastings, clever bumper stickers and other items.

Martin’s spending level was followed by District 3 Supervisor Bruce Conklin, who spent $69,061; Sutherland, $48,551; District 3 challenger Drew Bedwell, $36,695; and District 4 write-in candidate Rene Antonson, $5,695.

The fund-raising included contributions of $1,000 or more.

Michael Funk, CEO of Mountain People’s Warehouse, an organic food distributor in Auburn, was a major contributor to both Martin and Conklin. Funk has said he feels the two are the best choices in the current election.

Martin also received $4,100 from Auburn Manor Holding Co., a proprietor of long-term care homes. Martin said she met Martin A. Harmon, Auburn Manor’s founder, when she talked with him about land that the family owns near Spenceville Road.

They became friends, said Martin, whose children attend the same school as Harmon’s grandchildren, and Harmon ended up endorsing her.

Harmon could not be reached for comment on the contribution.

Sutherland and Bedwell have received their biggest contributions so far from Sierra Pacific Industries, a timber company in Redding that is Nevada County’s largest landowner.

Sierra Pacific is also a partner in the Bear River Mill site development, a commercial and residential project near La Barr Meadows Road and Alta Sierra, according to state records.

SPI has been a major contributor to political parties and candidates in California. In Nevada County, the privately held timber company gave $1,000 to Bedwell and $2,000 to Sutherland, and provided them with political training sessions.

Ed Bond, SPI’s community relations director, did not return phone calls requesting comment on the contributions.

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