Downey Judge Spends $80,000 in Effort to Retain Seat
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jesus "Jesse" Rodriguez has spent $80,000 in his bid to remain on the court, campaign spending reports show.
None of the other judges being challenged in Tuesday's primary reported spending that much through Feb. 19.
Rodriguez, who became a Superior Court judge Jan. 22 under court unification, is running in the former Downey Municipal Court District. This is the first election campaign for Rodriguez, who was appointed a judge of the Downey court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1997 after having served two years as a commissioner.
Rodriguez is being challenged by Downey sole practitioner Kirt Hopson. Hopson's most recent report was unavailable, but the candidate told the MetNews he had spent about $50,000 and expected to spend another $10,000 in the runup to the election.
Rodriguez, whose report showed that he had taken out a $50,000 real estate loan for the campaign, indicated he still had nearly $27,000 on hand. Candidates may continue to raise and spend money through-and after-the date of the election.
The next highest-spending incumbent judge is John Martinez, who has already expended over $50,000 in aid of his campaign for the Alhambra Judicial District seat he's held for 19 years. Martinez still has more than $33,000 on hand.
Martinez has been his own primary funding source, lending $78,000 to the campaign. He has out-raised and outspent his two opponents, Llewellyn Chin and Maria Vargas-Rodriguez, although Chin is giving the judge a run for his money.
Chin reported contributions of $53,000 and expenditures of $24,000. He has loaned $22,000 to the campaign.
Chin previously told the MetNews he intended to actively solicit funds, particularly from other Asian American professionals and business operators. His report shows some success on that score, showing several dozen donations ranging between $100 and $2,000.
Vargas-Rodriguez lags in the finance department, showing $19,500 in loans plus nearly $12,000 in contributions, with less than $5,000 remaining on hand.
Candidates for open seats in the former Beverly Hills and Los Angeles municipal court districts continue to show substantial expenditures.
Superior Court Commissioner Hugh M. Bobys, running in the district that covers Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, has spent close to $75,000 and has more than $31,000 still on hand. Most of his money was loaned to the campaign by Bobys and his wife, Carol.
Bobys has three opponents—Deputy District Attorney Richard Stone and sole practitioners John Khoury and Mitchell Dawson. Stone reported spending $35,000 and having more than $50,000 still on hand, while Dawson said he had spent nearly $28,000 and had more than $41,000 on hand.
Khoury's report was unavailable, but he said he thought he had raised about $75,000 and spent two-thirds of it.
Among six candidates seeking an open seat in the former Los Angeles Municipal Court district, Commissioners John Slawson and John Ladner remain the high spenders.
Slawson reported spending more than $56,000 and having less than $2,000 on hand, while Ladner was in a similar position, having spent over $47,000 and having less than $2,500 on hand at the end of the reporting period.
Deputy District Attorney David Stuart remains third in the spending race, having spent $36,000 and having less than $5,000 on hand. Deputy District Attorney David Mintz continues to trail.
Mintz reported raising less than $11,000, although he did not include the filing fee and candidate statement costs of about $12,000, which apparently came from his own funds. He shows nearly $10,000 on hand.
Also in the race are attorneys Vicki Roberts and Ron Silverton. Roberts previously filed a short form, indicating that she will not raise or spend more than $1,000 exclusive of the filing fee and candidate statement cost.
Silverton's report was not available, although he previously indicated he intended to spend a total of about $25,000.
Spending in the only countywide judicial contest has been light compared to Superior Court open seat races in past years.
Deputy District Attorney Katherine Mader, who loaned her campaign $100,000, has spent less than a quarter of it and has banked close to $80,000.
Superior Court Referee Jeffrey Marckese reported raising $30,000 in loans and contributions and having a little more than $9,000 on hand.
The report for the third candidate in the race, Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan, wasn't available. Carnahan previously reported spending more than $40,000, with little cash on hand as of Jan. 22 when the previous reporting period ended.
Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 2000