Campaign Finance Reports Show Skinner Won Fundraising Battle in Assembly District 14

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday June 26, 2008 - 09:32:00 AM

In the waning days of the June 3 primary campaign, running out of the capital needed for a last-minute electoral push, and his dream of becoming a member of the California State Assembly slipping away from him, Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington loaned his campaign $20,000. That was on top of another $22,000 he had loaned his campaign in mid-January. 

On election day alone, one of Worthington’s opponents, East Bay Regional Parks Director and former Berkeley City Councilmember Nancy Skinner reported pulling in donations in almost half the amount of Worthington’s last-minute self-loan—$9,200—including $3,600 apiece from the California State Association of Electrical Workers and the California State Law Enforcement Association PAC. 

In many ways, that summed up the fortunes of the two candidates, and the results of the Democratic primary election for the right to succeed Loni Hancock as assemblymember from California’s 14th Assembly District. That is the result of a Daily Planet analysis of campaign finance reports turned in to the California secretary of state’s office by the candidates through June 5. Final campaign figures have not yet been turned in. 

With $281,649 in campaign contributions, Skinner outraised her three opponents. Richmond City Councilmember Tony Thurmond was second with $259,963 raised, Berkeley physician Phil Polakoff third with $169,689, and Worthington fourth with $108,172. In addition, Polakoff loaned his campaign another $81,000. 

Skinner came in first in the voting with 46.5 percent of the votes cast, Thurmond second with 24.9 percent, Worthington third with 16.8 percent, and Polakoff last with 11.8 percent. 

Skinner also reported the highest expenditure total of the four candidates: $172,938 to Polakoff’s $164,198, Thurmond’s $122,213, and Worthington’s $109,656. In final calculations that meant that Skinner got the best bargain for her 29,958 votes, spending only $5.77 per vote. Thurmond spent $8.48 per vote for his 14,407 total, Worthington $11.25 per vote for his 9,744, and Polakoff $23.87 for his 6,878. 

The majority of Skinner’s expenses—$97,618 (56.45 percent)—went to pay for campaign literature, mailings, and other campaign materials. Worthington spent $52,007 (47.43 percent of his expenses) on those items, Polakoff $45,383 (27.64 percent), and Thurmond $36,573 (29.93 percent). 

On the other hand, 38.85 percent of Worthington’s expenses ($42,600) went to pay for campaign consultants. A third of Polakoff’s expenses ($54,600) went for consultant fees, as did 23.73 percent ($29,000) of Thurmond’s. Skinner only paid 11.56 percent of her expense total ($20,000) for consultants. 

Polakoff at $20,498 and Skinner at $19,808 paid the most for polling. Thurmond came in a distant third at $3,672, while Worthington reported no polling expenses.