Incumbents in Sonoma County supervisor races outpacing rivals in fundraising

The latest campaign finance statements show that the incumbents in both races have raised more than their opponents.|

The two incumbents seeking to retain their seats on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in the June 7 election are far outpacing their rivals in political fundraising, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports.

They show 2nd District Supervisor David Rabbitt raising more than twice the amount of his closest rival, while 4th District Supervisor James Gore edged out his challenger in the latest reporting period but has more than seven times the amount of cash on hand.

Rabbitt’s campaign reported receiving $111,459 from donors between Jan. 1 and April 23. Challenger Blake Hooper, a Petaluma planning commissioner, raised just under $50,000, according to his latest campaign finance statements.

Hooper also reported $10,534 in nonmonetary contributions — translation services and campaign materials — bringing his total contributions to $60,511. Rabbitt reported $2,798 in nonmonetary contributions, including wine donated by local wineries, bringing his total to $114,257.

An even larger gap exists between the cash on hand for the two campaigns, with Rabbitt reporting $103,665 going into the final weeks before the election compared to $22,478 for Hooper.

The 2nd District takes in Petaluma, Penngrove, Cotati and a sliver of Rohnert Park.

Since his first election in 2010, Rabbitt, who is running for his fourth term as supervisor, faced a single challenger during his run for reelection in 2014.

Hooper is a former staffer for Rep. Jared Huffman making his first bid for public office.

Kevin Hayenga, the last candidate to enter the 2nd District race and another first-time candidate, has said he is running his campaign without campaign contributions to “take the money out of politics.” The county’s campaign filing website does not show any financial statements from Hayenga’s campaign between Jan. 1 and April 23.

If no candidate in the race receives more than 50%, the two top vote-getters will proceed to a November runoff.

Fundraising between the two candidates in the race for the north county’s 4th District seat was closer, but only when looking at the latest reporting period.

Gore’s campaign reported receiving $19,510 in donations during the period. His lone opponent, Richard “Andy” Springer, a Santa Rosa-area business owner and pastor, reported raising $18,440.

But Gore, who is seeking his third term on the board, showed $140,735 in cash on hand, bolstering his wide campaign advantage over Springer, a first-time candidate who entered the race in February.

The race represents the first time Gore has faced a challenger since his 2014 election to the 4th District seat, which represents Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor, the Alexander and Dry Creek valleys and parts of northern Santa Rosa.

Rabbitt, Hooper and Hayenga are due to discuss the issues facing the 2nd District in a May 9 virtual forum at 6 p.m. co-hosted by the Petaluma Argus Courier and Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce. A Zoom link will be announced soon.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or emma.murphy@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MurphReports.

Emma Murphy

County government, politics reporter

The decisions of Sonoma County’s elected leaders and those running county government departments impact people’s lives in real, direct ways. Your local leaders are responsible for managing the county’s finances, advocating for support at the state and federal levels, adopting policies on public health, housing and business — to name a few — and leading emergency response and recovery.
As The Press Democrat’s county government and politics reporter, my job is to spotlight their work and track the outcomes.

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