Gallaher Homes executive’s donations surpass $1 million in campaign against SMART’s Measure I
Total campaign contributions in the contentious battle over Measure I, SMART’s sales tax extension, surged past $2 million this week, with the donor bankrolling the opposition putting up an additional $198,000 on Monday.
The latest contribution from Molly Gallaher Flater, 35, chief operating officer of Windsor-based Gallaher Homes, brings her donations to the No on Measure I campaign to $1,046,924, according to the latest campaign filings. She had previously committed to spend as much as $1 million to defeat the SMART tax renewal.
The total contributions to the opposition group, which calls itself NotSoSmart.org, now stand at $1,051,399.
The Yes on Measure I campaign is keeping pace, with a $1 million contribution from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria last week. The pro-SMART group shows $1,116,350 in total contributions, according to the latest records.
Beyond the Graton tribe’s contribution, the “Stay Green, Keep SMART” campaign has received a dozen donations of $1,000 or more. The largest funders include $25,000 each from Alameda-based construction firm Stacy and Witbeck, Inc., which built much of SMART’s current 45-mile line, and Santa Rosa-based Ghilotti Construction, which has done construction work for SMART. Two organized labor groups have donated $10,000 each as well.
Spending records for the opposition effort show $540,497 in expenditures on television, radio and online ads, plus consultant and legal work through mid-January. Insight into spending by supporters was limited because the campaign did not begin receiving the bulk of its funding until the end of the most recent reporting period.
State election regulators continue to review a complaint submitted last month by a member of the pro-SMART campaign alleging violations by the No campaign, according to an agency spokesman.
Flater’s first donations were made on Jan. 7, according to the opposition group, and TV and radio ads began airing the week after. State law requires most contributions of $1,000 or more be reported within 24 hours in the 90-day lead-up to an election.
Mail-in ballots for the March 3 election will begin arriving this week to voters in Sonoma and Marin counties. Measure I, which would extend SMART’s quarter-cent sales tax another 30 years, needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @kfixler.