Thurmond Continues to Lead Assembly 14 Fundraising

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday March 25, 2008

With a new round of campaign finance filings due Monday to the California Secretary of State’s office, the big surprise was that Richmond City Councilmember Tony Thurmond continued to hold the lead in fundraising for the District 14 Assembly seat. 

But East Bay Regional Parks board member and former Berkeley City Councilmember Nancy Skinner has the largest campaign war chest for the stretch run of the campaign. With $122,198 in the bank in mid-March, Skinner has twice as much money on hand than any of her three opponents. 

Four candidates—Thurmond, Skinner, Berkeley physician Phil Polakoff, and Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington—are running in the June 3 Democratic primary to replace the termed-out Loni Hancock in an assembly district that stretches from Richmond through Berkeley and a small portion of north Oakland, and out to Orinda, Lafayette, and Moraga to the east.  

Political observers expected Polakoff to have a large fundraising edge in this campaign. But Thurmond continues to lead in Assembly 14 fundraising, with Polakoff second, Skinner third, and Worthington fourth. 

After Thurmond outraised Polakoff $84,215 to $58,150 during 2007, with Worthington coming in third at $56,373 and Skinner not yet receiving contributions, Thurmond told the Daily Planet that his fund-raising lead came only because he has been raising money since the beginning of 2007, and he expected the other candidates to surpass him before the election. 

Skinner did not begin raising money until after the first of the year. 

But Polakoff raised only $10,000 more than Thurmond ($49,257 to $39,216) during the last reporting period—Jan. 1 through March 17, 2008—giving the Richmond councilmember a fundraising total of $123,431 to Polakoff’s $107,407 since January 2007.  

Worthington raised $25,914 in the latest reporting period, bringing his fund-raising total since January 2007 to $82,287. Worthington also loaned his campaign $22,000 in January. The Berkeley councilmember entered the main portion of the campaign season with more money in the bank ($64,317) than Polakoff ($55,883) and Thurmond ($53,494). 

Skinner more than made up for her late fund-raising start, raising $95,668 in contributions in the first two and a half months of 2008, not counting $3,500 she transferred from her Nancy Skinner for Park District campaign committee and $3,600 she contributed to her own campaign. Skinner also loaned her campaign another $30,000.  

Polakoff’s only major donor during this reporting period was Menlo Park investment banker James Davidson ($3,600). 

Worthington had three large donors: Cooper White & Cooper LLP legal assistant Martin Spence of San Pablo ($3,600), Michael Sheen, associate consultant to 16th District Assemblymember Sandré Swanson ($3,000), and Great Works Inc. owner Ross Moore of San Francisco ($3,000). 

Thurmond had several large donors: Construction & General Laborers Local 304 PAC of Sacramento ($3,600), Oakland real estate investor Wayne Jordan ($3,600), Akonadi FDN grant writer M. Quinn Delaney of Oakland ($3,600), San Francisco attorney Steve Phillips ($3,600), and Piedmont developer J.R. Orton ($2,600). 

Skinner also had several large donors: City of Berkeley computer specialist Lance Brady ($3,600), Berkeley City Councilmember Linda Maio ($3,600), Berkeley retiree Sara Sanderson ($3,600), Berkeley attorney Jeffrey Sinsheimer of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP ($3,600), Berkeley attorney Eric Weaver ($3,600), Berkeley resident John Dickson of Chevron Energy Solutions business development ($3,500), Berkeley retiree Alice Philipson ($2,500), Kaiser Permanente physician Richard Godfrey of Fremont ($2,500), Green Energy War LLC blogger/podcaster John Geesman of Orinda ($2,000), and City of Berkeley urban planning consultant Michael Berkowitz ($2,000).