Spending jumps as primary nears | TheUnion.com

Spending jumps as primary nears

Campaign contributions have remained constant while spending has accelerated among local candidates who seek to woo voters less than 10 days away from casting their votes on March 2.

Spending has increased nearly four times to $40,000 in contested Nevada County races, according to financial disclosure reports released Friday. Contributions totaled about $31,000.

Nevada County Board of Supervisors District 1 hopeful Olivia Diaz led the pack in earning and spending as Election Day nears. She spent nearly $15,000, compared to her opponents Nate Beason, who has spent $7,076, and Josh Ramey, who spent $220.

Diaz’s spending was offset by $13,308 of monetary and $9,812 of nonmonetary donations. Her largest single contribution of $4,999 came from a familiar face in Diaz’s campaign – environmental activist Michael Funk.

Funk, president of the South Yuba River Citizens League, has contributed nearly $10,000 for her bid to replace District 1 Supervisor Peter Van Zant, who is not seeking re-election.

Diaz on Friday defended Funk’s large contributions.

“He is trying to preserve a natural feature. He has no money to gain,” Diaz said. “I am the only candidate supporting wild and scenic … state or federal.”

Diaz, who said her $5,264 remaining war chest is likely enough to get through the primary, said she was overwhelmed by the contributions to her campaign.

“People are giving me more than they can afford,” Diaz said. “I am championing a cause they believe in.”

Beason said Diaz is not alone in supporting the river. He said he supports the state “wild and scenic” designation for the South Yuba and would also support it at the federal level if property owners were guaranteed their rights.

His war chest is slightly heavier than Diaz’s at $5,852. Beason raised $3,195 and spent $7,076, according to the report, which he, too, said is likely enough to get through the primary.

“I am comfortable with how we’re managing our money,” Beason said. “We are shepherding our resources.”

The least-financed District 1 candidate, Ramey, said he turned down a large contribution from a “very respectable organization,” because of his promise to accept a maximum of $40 contributions from individuals.

Ramey, who is financing his campaign almost entirely on personal loans, said he doesn’t think his lack of funding has hurt his campaign. He had $1,334 in his campaign fund.

“From the response I’ve got (knocking on doors), I think we’re right up there with everybody else,” Ramey said.

Meanwhile, District 2 candidate Steve O’Rourke has spent about one-sixth the amount of the incumbent he wishes to unseat. O’Rourke has spent $756, versus the $11,873 spent by Supervisor Sue Horne.

O’Rourke had $1,991 in his campaign fund and Horne had $5,776.

Ted Owens, running uncontested for the county’s District 5 seat, had $2,202 in his campaign fund.

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