Campaign cash rush is on for Santa Rosa candidates

<i><b>Editor's note:</b> This story has been changed to reflect total campaign fundraising to date, including funds raised prior to 2012 by candidates Julie Combs, Erin Carlstrom, Gary Wysocky and Caroline Ba?elos. </i>

Campaign cash has surged into the coffers of Santa Rosa's City Council candidates over the past three months, a sign that the seven-way race for four seats is heating up.

The candidates have raised approximately $207,000 overall in their campaigns, with nearly $100,000 of that from July to September, as interest groups and individuals began to focus their attention and support on a field of candidates that began as nine until two recently dropped out.

Neighborhood activist Julie Combs has raised $56,106 overall, according to campaign finance reports filed with the city.

That includes two personal loans totaling $24,000, including a recent $15,000 loan she said she made to ensure her campaign was well funded in the final weeks before the Nov. 6 election. Combs said she expects to repay herself as individual donors begin paying closer attention to the race and make contributions.

"I nervously went into my retirement fund to carry the campaign until the notoriously late donors turn out, and I have good confidence that they will," Combs said.

In terms of total donations received, attorney Erin Carlstrom is out in front, with $41,088 to date.

Both Combs and Carlstrom began their campaigns last year as the relative newcomers to city politics sought to boost their name recognition.

Carlstrom raised $43,588 overall, when her $2,500 loan made to her campaign last year is considered.

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