Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch maintained her fundraising lead over June 3 election rival Victoria Shanahan in the first 10 weeks of the year while outspending her on campaign literature and consultants by a margin of more than 2-to-1.
Ravitch collected almost $12,000 from donors including the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council in the period spanning Jan. 1 to March 17, according to finance reports.
Shanahan, a deputy prosecutor in Ravitch's office, raised about $7,500 from contributors including Santa Rosa defense attorney Chris Andrian and philanthropist Jean Schulz, widow of famed cartoonist Charles Schulz and a principal in Sonoma Media Investments, which owns The Press Democrat.
At the same time, Ravitch spent about $27,000 on campaign-related items while Shanahan shelled out about $12,000.
Ravitch's outlays included about $8,300 in payments to San Francisco-based Storefront Political Media, a consulting firm owned by Eric Jaye, a former advisor to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Jaye's firm is also handling Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire's state Senate bid.
But perhaps most telling with the district attorney election about two months away is money in reserves, where Ravitch holds a sizable advantage with $54,000 compared to $3,500 for Shanahan.
"(Ravitch) has the money to be able to get the message out whereas Shanahan is scraping the bottom of the barrel," said Santa Rosa consultant Terry Price, who ran Ravitch's 2010 bid. "It's not likely that Shanahan can run the aggressive campaign that would be necessary with that kind of cash."
Price said fundraising has been hampered in part by a lack of interest in the race. However, he said it could pick up as Election Day approaches. Ravitch amassed $86,000 toward her re-election last year.
"The early money is the easy money," Price said.
Also, two candidates forums could generate interest. The first is April 18 at the Fountaingrove Inn. The noon event is sponsored by the Sonoma County Bar Association and Sonoma County Women in Law.
A second forum is 5 p.m. April 23 at the downtown Santa Rosa library. It is hosted by the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana.
Ravitch has mostly dodged controversy since taking office in 2011 and has the support of the political establishment. Detractors include a group of senior prosecutors, like Shanahan, who say Ravitch hasn't lived up to promises to be transparent and is an ineffective leader.
(You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or email@example.com.)