WatchSonoma Watch

Carrillo leading fundraiser in supervisors’ races


Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo has raised far more money than his two challengers and all other candidates vying for local elected office, newly disclosed campaign finance records show.

Efren Carrillo.

Facing the surprise challenge of a former supervisor, Carrillo, 31 and nearing his first full term in office, gunned his campaign into action, raising in just two months $92,322 and spending $95,406. He still has $73,566 in the bank, records covering March 18 through May 19 show.

The activity dwarfs that of his that two opponents, former 5th District Supervisor Ernie Carpenter and former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi.

Across the county, political fundraising and spending is in the final stretch before the June 5 primary, with candidates aiming their energy at undecided voters and those who have yet to turn in their vote-by-mail ballots.


With a single candidate needing at least 50 percent of the primary vote to avoid a Nov. 4 runoff, the six-way race for retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown’s seat is the most likely to go to a fall runoff.

Santa Rosa City Council members John Sawyer and Susan Gorin maintained their fundraising edge in the latest period over the three main Sonoma Valley-based candidates. Sawyer took in $45,041 since mid-March, topping the field. His year-to-date figure is $107,278.

Gorin pulled closer to Sawyer’s latest tally, raising $40,499 for the period. Her year-to-date figure is $89,610, including a $10,000 loan.

Of the Sonoma Valley trio, communications consultant Gina Cuclis raised the most, reporting $19,337 in contributions. Her year-to-date total is $50,628, including a $9,000 loan.

Sonoma Mayor Joanne Sanders came next, taking in $18,967 for the latest period. Her year-to-date total is $63,572, including a $40,000 loan.

Energy consultant Mark Bramfitt raised $11,949 in the latest period and loaned himself $26,000, ending with more in available funds — $41,624 — than any others in the race to succeed Brown. His year-to-date fundraising total, including the loan, is $63,437.

Michael McClure, a Sonoma Valley teacher has run virtually no campaign and did not file contribution records with the county elections office.

Spending in the race for the latest period was led by Sawyer, at $66,765, followed by Gorin, at $53,507, Bramfitt at $31,563, Cuclis at $19,371 and Sanders at $11,010.

Competition among Sawyer and Gorin sharpened recently with the entrance of outside money into the race.

A union-backed independent expenditure committee, the Coalition for a Better Sonoma County, has poured $31,645 into advertising opposing Sawyer.

Records show the activity is financed by $30,000 from Local 1021 of the Service Employees International Union, the county’s largest labor group. The union, along with several other employee groups, the union is supporting Gorin.

The committee’s latest mailer portrayed Sawyer as a Pinocchio-like figure, alleging his public statements on economic issues did not match his votes.

Sawyer, who has drawn support from labor groups representing public safety workers, called it a hit piece and said his campaign would be responding.

“It was a weak attempt to discredit my campaign,” Sawyer said.

Gorin, who donated to the coalition, distanced herself from the mailer and downplayed its impact.

“Independent expenditures don’t tend to persuade the voting public one way or another, unless it’s really startling information,” she said.


Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane collected more campaign cash and out-spent her opponent by wide margins.

Zane raised more than $32,000 to Tim Smith’s $4,900 in the latest period. This year she has raised $57,915 to his $8,366.

The large financial advantage the Santa Rosa incumbent continues to enjoy comes as little surprise given her endorsement by a broad swath of business, labor and environmental groups and Smith’s low-key campaign.

Labor groups accounted for nearly a quarter of the contributions Zane received between March 18 and May 19, with $7,275 coming from groups like the North Bay Labor Council and SEIU Local 1021.

Political action committees of business groups such as the North Bay Leadership Council, the North Coast Builders Exchange and the Sonoma County Alliance also kicked in another 25 percent, with $7,250 in donations.

Other major contributors included Jim and Deana Ratto, owners of garbage hauler NorthBay Corp., $1,250 each; Barbara Banke, CEO of Kendall-Jackson, $2,000; Dona Frank, manager of medicinal marijuana dispensary OrganiCann, $1,000; and Bill and Susan Friedman, owners of Friedman’s Home Improvement, who chipped in $500 each.

The Rattos, however, had already given $2,500 each to Zane last year, and therefore both exceeded the $2,625 per election campaign funding limits.

“It should have been caught because we know what the limits are,” said Eric Oser, Zane’s bookkeeper and assistant treasurer of her campaign. “I think it was an oversight.”

The campaign will have to refund the Rattos $1,125 each to resolve the issue, Oser said.

Zane’s major expense was nearly $26,000 to San Francisco-based Storefront Political Media.

“I think any time you have an opponent, you run a serious campaign,” Zane said.

At the end of the period, her campaign had a cash balance of $42,489, with a $17,000 loan to herself outstanding.

Most of the contributions to Smith, a former Rohnert Park city councilman, came from individual donors, many of whom are retired. Prominent names include former Petaluma City Councilwoman Pam Torliatt and her parents, who contributed $100 each, and Petaluma Mayor David Glass, who also gave $100. Curtis Michelini, owner of Santa Rosa recycling firm Global Materials Recovery Services, gave $500.

Smith reported a total of $4,156 in cash at the end of the period, with a $3,000 loan to himself outstanding. He said he didn’t seek support from “big monied interests.”

The former Rohnert Park city councilman, who has made pension overhaul and a transparent bidding process the foundations of his campaign, noted that he’ll end his second run for the seat in the black.

“I’m much better funded than Sonoma County’s pension plan,” Smith said.


Carpenter, the former supervisor, and Jacobi, the former Santa Rosa councilwoman, have largely failed to make a dent in Carrillo’s fundraising machine.

Carpenter raised a total of $11,725 since mid-March and spent $17,726, including cash on hand from earlier in the year. Jacobi raised a total of $16,675 and spent $1,846.

Carrillo’s campaign contributions come from a wide spectrum of donors, including numerous individuals, small and big businesses, local attorneys, county employees, physicians, labor groups and business groups.

Missing from Carrillo’s list of contributors are key environmental groups, a constituency “he’ll never be able to please,” said Dave McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist. Carrillo will never be “green enough” for them, he said.

The key question in the district, McCuan said, is whether Carrillo’s support is strong enough to avoid a runoff. Carpenter does not have to raise a lot of money if his sole intention is make it to a face-off in November, McCuan said.

In that case, “his name recognition and familiarity with the issues does help him,” McCuan said. He called Jacobi’s bid a longshot.

Of Carrillo’s 200 campaign donors during the most recent filing period, 158 donations came from individuals. These ranged from a $100 contribution from Bodega Bay interior designer to $2,500 from Jennifer Lynn Bice, owner of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery.

Dutton Ranch Corp gave Carrillo $1,900 during the filing period, bringing Dutton’s total contribution to Carrillo for the election to $2,620. William Tamayo of La Tortilla Factory gave him $331 this period for an election total of $1,281.

The Sonoma County Alliance political action committee gave Carrillo $1,625 this period for an election total of $2,625. And Carrillo also received significant contributions from labor groups, including $500 from SEIU Local 1021’s PAC; $1,000 from Operating Engineers Local No. 3; and $2,500 from the Northern California District Council of Laborer’s PAC.

Veronica Jacobi, whose loan to herself of $15,000 makes up the bulk of the $16,675 she raised during the latest reporting period, acknowledged her slim chances in the race.

13 Responses to “Carrillo leading fundraiser in supervisors’ races”

  1. Che Guevara says:

    Carrillo’s going to need all that money for the RECALL that will be coming his way, hopefully, soon!

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  2. Larry says:


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  3. Citizen's Media says:

    Vote Veronica “Roni” Jacobi – Candidate for Board of Supervisors 5th District

    Our Green Challenge

    Send Corrupt Efren Carillo, his corrupt Sugar Daddy and their Phantom Railroad Packing!

    Doug Bosco & His Phantom Railroad

    An entirely greater level of political interference is manifestly run on behalf of Bosco and allied financial interests by many members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. As only one example, the precocious political career of present Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carillo was wholly engineered by people like Bosco and former Fifth District Supervisor Eric Koenigshofer, an attorney and long-standing member in good faith of the Bosco Boys. In the final weeks of the race, Carillo’s campaign received a virtually unheard-of campaign donation of $23,500 from none other than Bosco’s Northwestern Pacific Railroad business partner, Skip Berg, by way of his company Berg Holdings. Syar, the gravel mining company, gave over $8,000. Bosco himself chipped in $5,000. Carillo’s opponent, long-time Sonoma County public servant Rue Furch, ran on a platform opposing many of the Bosco Boys’ pet projects.

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  4. @fancy pants says:

    Fancy Pants, you are correct.

    Carillo voted FOR the Dutra asphalt plant on the outskirts of Petaluma. Part of his reasoning was something along the lines of “Petaluma needs to suffer too”. He doesn’t represent his own constituents or the 99% of the population regardless of where they live. Carillo needs to go away.

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  5. GoAwayCarillo says:

    Carrillo needs to go…

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  6. Crowd(control)ed? says:

    Carillo slanders Ernie Carpenter with the label “Father of Preservation Ranch,” yet fails to mention that his former campaign manager Eric Koenigshofer is a legal adviser to Premier Pacific Vineyards. What does this make Carillo, “Bastard son of Preservation Ranch”?

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  7. fancy pants says:

    Am I wrong to think that Carillo is the out of town guy who voted FOR the Dutro plant at Scholenberger Park in Petaluma. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

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  8. wilson says:


    Sonoma County Conservation Action endorsed Zane 4 years ago instead of the more conservation-minded Tim Smith. Tell me why they did that unless their name is for show only. They lost all credibility with me then.

    I’m sure that she has endorsements from entities that I may respect or support in one way or another. But those specific development interest groups that I mentioned have proven time and time again to NOT care one bit about the needs of the public at large. I stand by my prior words

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  9. Jim says:

    @Wilson, interesting that you believe Zane only has endorsements from builders and developers. She also has endorsements from the Sonoma County Democratic Party and the Sonoma County Conservation Action. Her endorsement list is broad.

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  10. Wilson says:

    No surprise that Shirley Zane has big donations from Political Action Committees of the North Bay Leadership Council, the North Coast Builders Exchange and the Sonoma County Alliance.

    Folks, those groups are all builders and developers. These are the people that want SMART built and they don’t care about the train. They want to build the housing that we don’t need that SMART themselves made the requirement for.

    And for those with short memories, the Sonoma County Alliance is the group that put out that nasty series of racially offensive hit pieces in support of david rabbit and against Pam Torliatt two years ago.

    This is proof positive that Zane doesn’t care one bit about the 99% of us. Zane has got to go.

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  11. Jim Bennett says:

    Interesting how the fascist perspective of the candidate’s success is reconciled through how much money they’ve raised.

    At this point they should be judged by their interest in maintaining the Free Market and their adherence to the Constitution, Property Rights and our Freedoms.

    While I’m dreaming, the MAIN QUESTION should be; are they prepared to be complicit in this ICLEI tyranny.

    If someone like me even ran for Council, you’d see a complete smear job.
    Or no press at all.
    Ask George Barrish.
    If you want to play ball, better be on ‘The Program’.

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  12. Reality Check says:


    Of course an election should be about more than who can raise the most money. But, please and with due respect, spare me the boilerplate about “vision, goals, and putting people first.”

    Elections should be about ideas, policies, and proposals, with sufficient specificity such that a voter knows what to expect if a candidate is elected. That is, what means do you propose to achieve your vision?

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  13. It should not be about buying the election, it should be about vision, goals and putting the people first above parties or groups.

    If anyone has any questions on the CA State Assembly race contact me at drgunderson@hotmail.com.

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