City Beat

Steinberg set spending record in Sacramento mayoral campaign

Darrell Steinberg set new spending record in Sacramento mayoral race

Steinberg spent $1.6 million on his successful campaign. Councilwoman Ashby spent just over $400,000.
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Steinberg spent $1.6 million on his successful campaign. Councilwoman Ashby spent just over $400,000.

For what Darrell Steinberg spent on his victory in the Sacramento mayoral election, he could have purchased all of his supporters a serving of the Sonoma County duck breast at midtown’s Waterboy restaurant.

Steinberg spent a record $1.6 million on his campaign – more than Mayor Kevin Johnson and former Mayor Heather Fargo combined to spend in the June 2008 primary. That dollar figure meant Steinberg spent nearly $26 per vote, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of campaign finance documents filed with the city of Sacramento this week.

That’s nearly twice what his closest competitor – Councilwoman Angelique Ashby – spent per vote. Ashby spent just over $401,000, an average of $13.59 for every vote she received.

Steinberg received nearly 58 percent of the vote in the June primary, emerging from a sometimes bitter campaign to avoid a November runoff. Ashby, who remains on the City Council, received 27 percent of the vote.

Former boxing champ Tony “The Tiger” Lopez got the best bang for his buck in the race.

The long-shot candidate, who finished a distant third, spent $1.57 per vote. Granted, Lopez received just 9,519 votes – good for about 9 percent of the tally – but he only spent $14,945 for that result.

The mayoral candidates – along with special interest groups representing firefighters, police officers, Realtors and construction workers – spent nearly $2.5 million on the mayoral race, records show.

Steinberg also led the fundraising race, bringing in $2.3 million. About $1.4 million of that cash originated in a campaign account he established years ago for a potential lieutenant governor’s run. Steinberg transferred that money into his mayoral account. He spent much of his cash on campaign consultants, mail pieces and lawyers, documents show.

Some groups hedged their bets in the mayoral race.

The Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association gave Ashby $11,000 on March 18. Then, on June 30 – three weeks after the election – the group gave $11,000 to Steinberg.

The North State Building Industry Association gave Ashby a combined $11,000 in 2015 and 2016. It gave Steinberg $11,000 on June 28, records show.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis