By DEREK MOORE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Assemblyman Michael Allen maintained a 2-to-1 fundraising edge over his challenger in their battle for the 10th Assembly District seat, campaign finance records show.
Allen raised $240,852 since July 1, more than double that of Marc Levine, who brought in $113,128. Allen spent $186,279, compared with Levine’s $43,395.
The two Democrats are squaring off in a newly created Assembly district representing all of Marin County, part of Santa Rosa and portions of western and southern Sonoma County.
Allen is a former union leader and current assemblyman, and Levine is a first-term San Rafael city councilman.
Allen’s fundraising this period brought his year-to-date figure to $868,529, compared with Levine, who has brought in $188,268, records show.
Allen has spent $835,656, leaving him with $170,408 in the bank. Levine has spent $181,652 and has a cash balance of $81,588 heading into the final weeks of the campaign.
Levine on Monday said he can’t compete with Allen dollar-for-dollar. But he characterized his campaign as having more local support because the bulk of his donations have come from within the district.
“It says a lot that my opponent is raising all of his funds from politicians and interest groups in Sacramento and does not have a fundraising base in the district,” Levine said.
Allen on Monday again refused to comment on his campaign as he has done for the past two weeks.
The amount of money flowing into the race reflects its importance to interests outside Sonoma and Marin counties, along with the fact Allen has to re-introduce himself to a new group of voters, said David McCuan, a political scientist at Sonoma State University.
Allen, who owns a home in Santa Rosa’s Oakmont neighborhood, was elected in 2010 to represent the 7th Assembly District, which was redrawn during redistricting last year. He rented an apartment in San Rafael to run for the 10th District.
The race has drawn the attention of a statewide coalition calling itself Family Farmers Working for a Better California, which reported spending $117,126 on Friday to pay for mailers opposing Allen.
The mailers, which started hitting mailboxes over the weekend, depict a photo of Allen with a grin on his face.
“They call Michael Allen The Sacramento Guy,” the mailers state. Elsewhere the mailer states that Allen “moved to our district to run,” has a “history of ethics violations” and is “in the pocket of special interests.”
The trade organizations Western Growers and California Citrus Mutual are identified as the major sources of funding for the mailers.
A spokeswoman for Western Growers did not return a call Monday seeking comment. The agency’s website said it was opposed to Allen’s bill that would have given farmworkers the right to overtime pay after they work more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours a week. The bill, which was backed by the United Farm Workers union, was rejected by the Assembly in August.
Dominic Grossi, president of the Marin County Farm Bureau, said Monday that Allen’s bill caused “a lot of concern” among farmers and growers.
“He didn’t try to work with the agricultural industry,” Grossi said.
McCuan said the money spent by the growers will be a “drop in the bucket” compared to what the groups aligned with Allen will end up spending on his behalf.
“There’s going to have to be some smackdown there to blunt Levine from getting any traction,” McCuan said.
Levine said he had no advance knowledge of the mailers and that if elected he will work to limit the influence of independent expenditure committees, which critics blame for fueling negative campaigns.
Asked whether he was disavowing the mailer, Levine replied, “It’s hard to have any sympathy for Allen since he and his allies have already hit me with false attacks.”
Allen received $10,890 in non-monetary donations this reporting period, the bulk of it from the Democratic State Central Committee.
The other $222,962 came in cash from 92 donors, most of whom are listed in cities outside Sonoma and Marin counties.
Of Allen’s 92 cash contributors, 41 are individuals, businesses or unions from Sacramento, who in total gave $150,700. Another 24 contributors came from Sonoma and Marin counties and kicked in $6,750.
Among Allen’s largest contributors, all of whom gave $7,800 each, were California Professional Firefighters in Sacramento, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council in Oakland and the California Teachers Association in Burlingame.
About 230 individuals and groups donated to Levine’s campaign this period, most of them based in the district in which he is running.
Resource Conservation of San Rafael provided Levine with $3,000 in non-monetary contributions and also donated $1,000 to his campaign.
Levine also accepted a $7,800 donation from the California Association of Realtors in Los Angeles and a $2,000 donation from the California Cattleman’s Association in Sacramento.
His other major donors included the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce ($5,000), Fireman’s Fund of Novato ($1,000) and Dutton Ranch Corp. in Graton ($1,000).
In the 2nd Assembly District race, incumbent Wes Chesbro took in $56,900 this period, bringing his total contributions for the year to $156,962. After expenditures, Chesbro had an ending cash balance of $51,863.
Reports were not immediately available for Chesbro’s opponent, Guerneville contractor Tom Lynch.
In the 4th Assembly District race, incumbent Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada took in $37,110 this period, leaving her with an ending cash balance of $132,105. Her opponent in the race, John Munn, took in $26,451 this period, leaving him with a cash balance of $21,192.