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June 28, 2022

Some candidates better funded than others

Sumaya, Cantu and Monaco biggest spenders in their respective
races
Local political candidates are spending their campaign coffers
to attract votes during this last week before the election
– some more than others.
Sumaya, Cantu and Monaco biggest spenders in their respective races

Local political candidates are spending their campaign coffers to attract votes during this last week before the election – some more than others.

Art Cantu, candidate for District Attorney, has the biggest war chest with $24,079 in contributions. His opponent, Monterey Deputy District Attorney John Sarsfield, is close behind him on the spending trail with $21,972.

The next biggest spender is retired schoolteacher Reb Monaco, who has accrued and spent most of $13,000 amassed in his bid to unseat Ron Rodrigues in the District 4 Supervisors race. Rodrigues has been outspent more than 2-1 and has taken in about $6,000 in contributions.

Early on in the primary campaign, Monaco managed to land a hefty contribution from road building magnate Paul Wattis of Paicines. The $5,000 gift launched Monaco’s visibility before Rodrigues could dust off his old signs. Then the Services Employees International Union, whose members include many of the county’s 350 workers, put $1,000 into the Monaco campaign. The union added another $1,000 this month, bringing their total contribution to $2,000.

The race between Rodrigues and Monaco has grown touchy this week with Rodrigues calling his opponent’s campaign tactics “dirty pool.” It started earlier this month when Monaco supporters set up an electronic sign that said “Vote for Monaco” on David Grimsley’s property at the entrance to the county fair, then in front of the bowling alley on San Felipe Street.

“That sign was illegal,” said Rodrigues. “It’s three times bigger than what is allowed in the codes.”

Signs can be no larger than 4×8 feet. County code enforcers told Monaco to remove it. He did – to another spot, this time on the corner of Airline Highway and Fairview Road, right across from Ridgemark. The gated community is an area hotly coveted by the two candidates since many residents living there are using Ridgemark road repair as their driving campaign issue.

“I thought they said ‘move it,’ not ‘remove it,'” Monaco said with a slight chuckle.

Rodrigues wasn’t laughing.

“He’s out there playing games,” said the supervisor.

The sign, owned by Grimsley, was rented by Monaco supporter Dennis Madigan, who has yet to document it in filings with the county or state. Use of the sign would be considered an “in-kind” donation, and rented at $250 a day, as Monaco said was the price, it could possibly top the $1,000 mark for such contributions, which must be reported within 24 hours to the state.

As in the supervisors’ race, most of the contributions made to candidates in the city council races were $99 or less, which means they don’t have to be reported to the state by donor name and are therefore untrackable.

The biggest spender in the council races is Henry Sumaya, an advocate for Award Homes who is vying for the seat of Councilwoman Pauline Valdivia of District 3, along with Randy Pfeifer. Sumaya has collected $3,202 in contributions this election year, with $500 of it contributed by the San Benito Land & Title Company.

District 2 Councilwoman Peggy Corrales, who is being challenged by Robbie Scattini, has the next biggest campaign purse at $2,414. D.A. candidate Cantu and Corrales each gave $150 to one another’s campaigns, which prompted Sarsfield to give $150 to Scattini, who has amassed $1,225.

Valdivia has garnered $2,233 in her campaign efforts.

The candidate with the least amount of money in his coffers is Pfeifer, who has spent less than $900 in his bid for City Council District 3. Instead, he has been pounding the pavement in his district, going door-to-door to meet and talk with voters and to leave bilingual fliers about his goals.

“I think I hit about 90 percent of the doors in my district, but my kids slowed me up,” said Pfeifer.

So did a sore back.

“You can’t go up to the door bent over sideways,” he said.

Pfeifer received $345 in donations from supporters, but spent the rest of the money on a few newspaper ads and for 30 political signs.

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