Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Page 1


Candidates’ Spending in Two Judicial Races Tops $500,000


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


 Two of the five races for seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court have each already cost over half of a million dollars, campaign finance reports for the final pre-election reporting period show.

Spending reports filed last month with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder show that Superior Court Referee Cynthia Loo and Deputy District Attorney Thomas Rubinson have together spent over $524,000 in the race for Office No. 82, from which Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr. retired earlier this year, while Deputy District Attorney Hilleri G. Merritt and Tarzana attorney Steven Simons have spent just over $500,000 campaigning to succeed Judge Francis Gately—who officially retires at the end of this month—in Office No. 72.

Loo reported over $324,000 in total campaign expenditures, including almost $37,000 in the final pre-election reporting period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 18. The latter included $8,000 for her representation by Kaufman Downing LLP in a dispute over the accuracy of her ballot pamphlet statement.

She reported raising almost $318,000 in all, with contributions of almost $18,000 in the final period from groups and individuals including Justice Laurence Rubin of Div. Eight of this district’s Court of Appeal, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Donna Groman and Commissioner Robert Leventer. Loo also reported loaning her campaign an additional $10,000 during the final period, bringing total campaign loans to $172,000.

Rubinson, who indicated approximately $200,000 in total expenditures, stated that he spent $55,000 in the final period on literature and campaign materials, and received $8,500 in in-kind contributions for radio advertising.

Reporting total contributions of $201,000, the candidate stated he received $14,300 during the final period, including contributions from Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Stephen Marcus and Darrell Mavis, and Commissioners Diana L. Summerhayes and Mark Zuckman. The candidate has previously reported $85,000 in loans.

In the race to succeed Gately, Merritt similarly reported total expenditures of almost $300,000, while Simons reported expenditures of over $200,000.

Merritt, who declared total contributions of $293,000, reported spending $25,000 during the final period on literature and campaign materials, and raising just over that amount, including an additional $25,000 the candidate made to her campaign. Over $237,000 of Merritt’s funds has come from loans by the candidate and her family.

Simons, who indicated total contributions of over $188,000, reported expenses of almost $37,000 during the final period, including $30,000 on phone banking. He also declared that he loaned his campaign an additional $13,500, and contributed $1,000 in kind in the form of advertising, bringing the amount the candidate has contributed to his campaign to almost $175,000.

In other races:

•Commissioner Lori Jones reported raising almost $13,000 and spending almost $15,000 during the final period, bringing her totals to more than $75,000 and almost $119,000, respectively. She reported contributions during the final period by 26 sitting superior court judges and two commissioners.

Her opponent in the race for Office No. 84, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Connolly, has raised more than $180,000 and spent more than $187,000 on the campaign. Connolly’s report detailed almost $26,000 in contributions during the last period—including a loan of $22,00 by a family member, bringing total loans and contributions by the candidate and his family to over $150,000—and expenditures in a similar amount.

Jones and Connolly are seeking the seat of Judge Gibson W. Lee, who did not run for re-election.

•Deputy District Attorney Michael Jesic, seeking the seat from which Judge Jack Hunt recently retired, reported raising more than $149,000 and spending almost $147,000 on the race. The candidate’s loans to the campaign total $120,000, but he declared having raised only $1,400 during the last period, and having made no expenditures during that time.

His opponent in the race for Office No. 154, Superior Court  Commissioner Rocky Crabb, reported under $4,000 in contributions last period, and expenditures of over $1,000 in in-kind payments of interest on the $35,000 in loans the candidate has received. Overall, he has raised about $82,000 and spent almost $55,000.

•Deputy District Attorney Michael O’Gara, bidding to succeed retired Judge Michael Duggan, reported raising almost $75,000 last period—including $70,000 in loans from himself—and spending almost $43,000. He has raised over $191,000 during the race, but has spent over $153,000. The candidate and his family have now loaned the campaign nearly $167,000.

O’Gara’s opponent for Office No. 94, Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack, has raised just over $21,000 total on his campaign, and spent $19,000. The candidate loaned his campaign $1,500 last period—bringing total loans to almost $10,000—and raised approximately $350 from contributors, including San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp. Mack spent over $2,200 during the last period.


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