Spending by outside groups made last year’s race between Susan Gorin and John Sawyer for the 1st District Sonoma County supervisor’s seat the most expensive in county history, campaign finance reports show.
The Petaluma City Council election is almost two years away, but three candidates already are on the campaign trail raising money.
Three council seats and the separately elected mayor’s position will be on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot.
Distrust among some Petaluma City Council candidates and current office-holders prompted two contenders last week to skip an election forum organized by the mayor.
The Sonoma County Democratic Party has endorsed the three most liberal of six Democrats running for Petaluma City Council in November, overruling the recommendations of a committee that interviewed all six candidates.
Democratic activists involved in the process characterize the change as an effort by the more progressive members of the party to assert their influence. They say the switch came after intense internal disagreement during the selection process.
Local elected offices in California are technically nonpartisan, although party politics can be influential.
The field is becoming more crowded for candidates seeking the three Petaluma City Council seats up for election in November. Business owner and former software executive Jason Davies, who finished fourth in a race for three seats in 2010, entered the race this week. He joins Vice Mayor Tiffany Renee and Councilman Gabe Kearney, who seek reelection, and Alicia Kae Herries, a Planning Commissioner who announced her intent to run this spring.
Campaign contributions in last year’s Sonoma County supervisors race between David Rabbitt and Pam Torliatt topped $706,000, eclipsing a previous county record of $647,000 set in the 2008 battle between Sharon Wright and Shirlee Zane. Unions, environmental groups and business interests poured money into this year’s pivotal campaign, which had the potential to swing the five-member board toward either a moderate, pro-business majority or a more slow-growth, progressive stance.
After three unofficial votes to fill its vacant seventh seat, the Petaluma City Council Monday night deadlocked again and opted to delay the decision for another month. “It would be counterproductive to go further with this, because it will serve to tear apart the body of six that is up here right now,” Mayor David Glass said.
UPDATE 8:45 AM: Twenty Petaluma residents — including former mayor and longtime Councilwoman Pam Torliatt — submitted formal applications Thursday to fill the potentially game-changing vacant seat on an ideologically split city council. See who else has tossed their name into the hat.