OAKLAND — Now this is inflation.
In 2006, Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele was re-elected after raising $44,426 for her campaign that year. This year, Nadia Lockyer, who is hoping to take Steele's seat, has raised nearly $650,000 for her campaign to try to defeat three challengers.
Welcome to big-time political fundraising in Alameda County.
According to the most recent campaign finance disclosure forms filed last week — the last ones that must be filed before Tuesday's election — the executive director of Alameda County's Family Justice Center was able to raise $335,388 over the past two months, bringing her total to $648,666.
Hayward City Councilman and fellow District 2 supervisor candidate Kevin Dowling came in a distant second to Lockyer, as far as financing goes, with $80,359 raised.
Lockyer's 77-page financial disclosure filing shows her husband, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, has donated $469,258 from his treasurer's campaign fund to his wife's campaign.
The large amount of money is appropriate in the sense that Steele pointed to fundraising as one of the reasons she was giving up her supervisor's seat, which she has held since 1992.
"Now, not just anybody can run," Steele said recently. "You have to have money, lots of money. It's gotten out of control."
The battle for the District 2 seat — which includes Hayward, Newark, Union City, parts of Fremont and Sunol — seems to have become a bitter fight. Along with Lockyer and Dowling, former state Sen. Liz Figueroa and Union City Mayor Mark Green are running.
Lockyer's camp has gone at it with Figueroa since the beginning of the season, challenging Figueroa's job description on the ballot first, and then bringing up approximately $12,000 in back taxes Figueroa owes, as well as questioning her true residency.
Figueroa admits to owing back taxes but says she is on a payment plan with the county on the overdue property taxes and that she does not live at her legal residence where she is registered to vote in Sunol. Instead, Figueroa said she lives in a small cottage she rents Sunol.
While Figueroa has had a lengthy career in politics, including spending 12 years in Sacramento, she has raised only $43,343 for her run at supervisor, which includes a $10,000 loan she gave herself.
According to his most recent filing, Green had raised $16,435 through mid-March.
The race for the District 3 seat — which includes San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Hillcrest Knolls and the Fruitvale, San Antonio and Chinatown communities of Oakland — has not seen nearly as many fireworks or as much money.
Former Supervisor and Assemblywoman Wilma Chan has raised just more than $132,000 this year through late May; $20,000 of that was in loans. Alameda Mayor Bev Johnson had raised just more than $10,000 through March, which was her latest filing.