AD15 candidates writing big checks to themselves

The Republicans in the hyper-crowded Assembly District 15 primary race are significantly out-raising their Democratic counterparts but a large chunk of the GOP cash is coming out of the candidates’ own bank accounts, according to financial reports filed Tuesday.

Automobile dealership entrepreneur Robert Rao of Livermore has poured $208,060 of his own money into the campaign, leaving him with $45,170 from other sources.

San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson has loaned his campaign $95,000. He has received $18,474 from other contributors.

The exception to the self-funded trend is GOP activist and businesswoman Judy Biviano Lloyd, who reported $153,781 in contributions through June 30 but only $3,987 came from personal funds.

Campaign finance reports were not immediately available for the other two declared Republican candidates including Alamo real estate appraiser Joe Rubay and optometrist Scott Kamena of Livermore.

UPDATE: Kamena’s campaign finance report was not available on-line at the Secretary of State’s web site but his treasurer faxed it over a few minutes ago. It shows Kamena raised $140,874 between Jan. 1 and June 30, bringing his total contributions for the campaign to $260,891. (He started raising money last year, the only candidate who began raising money that early.) Kamena has not contributed or loaned his own money to the campaign.

The fund-raising numbers for the two Democrats for which campaign finance reports had been filed pale in comparison although it is still far too early to draw too many conclusions as to the significance of the funding gap.

Steve Filson, a Danville health insurance agent and former airline pilot, reported $35,345 in contributions through June 30 although he has not spent any of his own money.

Danville electrician Steve Thomas logged $1,125 in contributions and no personal loans. But he had spent most of it, leaving him with $128 in the bank.

Reports were not immediately available on the Secretary of State’s web site or at the Contra Costa County Elections Department for the other four Democratic candidates, including businessman Fred Klaske of Castro Valley, El Grove resident Davies Ononiwu and Livermore school principal Chris Van Schaack.

The final Democrat, San Ramon Valley School Board Trustee Joan Buchanan, didn’t officially enter the race until July 3, several days after the closing date of the last financial reporting period.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen