Former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg reported Thursday he has raised just more than $2 million in his bid to become Sacramento mayor, the most raised for a single city campaign.
Most of the money isn’t new cash – roughly $1.4 million was transferred into his mayoral campaign earlier this month from an account he established for a potential lieutenant governor’s run.
But combined with $652,154 in new money he’s taken in since launching his campaign in October, Steinberg eclipsed the $1.8 million that Mayor Kevin Johnson raised in his 2008 election bid.
“Today’s fundraising numbers demonstrate clearly and convincingly that Darrell’s base of support is wider, deeper, more diverse and more enthusiastic than any of his opponents,” Kelly Rivas, Steinberg campaign manager, said in a written statement.
Steinberg’s chief rival, Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, reported raising $165,081 so far this year, giving her $333,186 since the campaign began in October. Ashby has roughly $236,000 available to spend as the June primary approaches.
“Since he already raised twice the aggregate amount of all the other candidates, I think the city would be much better off if Steinberg donated his $1.4 million to help the homeless instead of spending it all on self-promotional ads,” said Josh Pulliam, Ashby political consultant.
Ashby has been critical of Steinberg’s use of the lieutenant governor money, arguing the city election code should restrict him to transferring far less from his statewide account. The Sacramento city attorney has said that the code Ashby’s campaign is citing in its argument does not apply to Steinberg’s transfer.
“I knew when Darrell Steinberg ran against me he would have more name ID and would raise more money than me,” Ashby said Thursday. “But why $1.4 million also on top of that advantage? I don’t see the need for that.”
Steinberg told The Sacramento Bee editorial board Wednesday that transferring the money from the state account into his mayoral campaign should dispel speculation he has immediate plans to run for higher office.
“I think it demonstrates I’m all in here,” he said. “I want to be mayor of Sacramento.”
Steinberg also rejected the argument that the amount of money he could transfer should be limited.
“I’m following the rules and people have given me this money largely because they want to see me continue my public service in one form or another,” he said.
Many of Steinberg’s largest donors are statewide unions and political committees.
He received $11,000 – the maximum donation by a political committee – from the California State Pipe Trades Council, the California Teamsters, Professional Engineers In California, local pro-business group Region Builders, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the Southern California Pipe Trades District Council and United Food and Commercial Workers, records show.
Donations of $11,000 to Ashby came from the Committee for Home Ownership of the North State Building Industry Association, the Sacramento Builders’ Exchange, the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association.
Police and firefighter unions also reported Thursday they had combined to give $125,000 toward an independent expenditure committee in support of Ashby. Both the police and firefighter unions have endorsed Ashby in the mayor’s race.
Another independent committee led by unions representing plumbers, electrical workers and sheet metal workers reported an account of $60,000 in support of Steinberg. That committee is called Sacramentans for Jobs and Economic Growth.