A surge of last-minute spending has sparked a final war of words between Susan Gorin and John Sawyer, the two candidates vying for the 1st District seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
The sparring has included proxies making independent expenditures on behalf of the two rivals, who are long-time opposites on the Santa Rosa City Council.
The money race has accelerated in the past week, with both direct campaign contributions and outside spending pouring more than $80,000 into the contest to replace retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown, campaign finance records show.
The money race between the two candidates vying for Sonoma County’s 1st District Board of Supervisors seat has narrowed in October.
Susan Gorin still trails rival John Sawyer by more than $60,000 in contributions received since the start of the year. But Gorin eclipsed Sawyer in the latest reporting period, from October 1 to October 20, pulling in $40,641, or $8,238 more than Sawyer, campaign finance records show.
Having already spent nearly a quarter million dollars between them, the candidates for the 1st District county supervisorial seat headed into the fall election with diminished bank accounts. Predictions — and election history — suggest a long, costly contest encompassing east Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley. And indications are that what has so far been a hard-fought race will again veer into hostile tactics.
Three of Sonoma County’s five supervisorial seats are at stake on Tuesday, with the race to replace retiring incumbent Valerie Brown shaping up as a geographic tug of war between Santa Rosa and Sonoma Valley. Santa Rosa voters could play a decisive role in the contest that pits two Santa Rosa City Council members — Susan Gorin and John Sawyer — against four candidates from the valley. And Santa Rosa’s influence also could shape the outcome of the contest between incumbent Efren Carrillo and former West County supervisor Ernie Carpenter.
Valerie Brown’s pending retirement from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has led to the most sharply contested race for that seat in decades, and the outcome could alter the balance of political power in the county for years. Six candidates are vying for the 1st District post that has traditionally been thought of as the Sonoma Valley seat and has been won by a person who lives there. But redrawn political boundaries that include more of Santa Rosa and the resulting candidacies from John Sawyer and Susan Gorin — both Santa Rosa City Council members — could shift the district’s center of political power northwest.
With a road maintenance backlog of $120 million and only $4.5 million dedicated to long-term road upkeep, does anything the 1st District candidates suggest stand any chance of finding support among the public or generating enough money to put a dent in the problem? Three of the five candidates in the race say part of the solution lies in asking county residents to raise their taxes.
Sonoma Mayor Joanne Sanders loaned herself $40,000 for her bid to replace Valerie Brown on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, an amount that catapults Sanders to the top of the current fund-raising standings. In addition to the loan, Sanders received $4,605 in donations for the reporting period covering Jan. 1 through March 17, according to her campaign finance report. ‘I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to win this race,’ Sanders says.
Five candidates for an open seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors squared off Thursday in a wide-ranging forum about spurring economic development, maintaining county services and addressing issues pertinent to Sonoma Valley. The geopolitical divide in the county’s 1st District, currently represented by retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown, proved a constant undercurrent in the discussion.
Keith Rhinehart, the dark horse contender among six candidates in the race to replace retiring Sonoma County Supervisor Valerie Brown, has dropped out of the contest. Rhinehart, a Santa Rosa-area resident, former United Parcel Service supervisor and substitute teacher, said he needed to focus on a “family issue.”