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Loftus leading on fundraising in District Attorney’s race, but Dautch is close behind

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Suzy Loftus, center, smiles as she fills out paperwork to run for San Francisco District Attorney while surrounded by her three daughters, Mayor London Breed, Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen and Supervisors Vallie Brown and Katy Tang at the Department of Elections at City Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

On Guard column header Joe

Yes folks it’s that time of year again, when financial reports come flying from the Ethics Commission and The News flocks to cover the horse-race aspect of politics, asking that far-too influential question:

Who raised the most money?

Well that would be San Francisco native and former Police Commissioner Suzy Loftus, who through the end of last year (the latest date revealed in filings) raised a whopping $157,000.

That puts Loftus at the head of the pack in the free-for-all race to replace outgoing District Attorney George Gascon, who found himself without a country, attacked from the left as allegedly unwilling to prosecute cops who’ve killed and from the right as soft on prosecuting property crimes.

Loftus has also spent roughly $30,000, leaving $127,000 to duke it out with Leif Dautch, a California deputy attorney general who raised a not-too-shabby $131,000, and has $99,000 left in the bank after his expenditures.

That’s a surprising amount of scrilla for a newcomer to bank, and should have Loftus just a bit worried. In stark contrast, Joe Alioto Veronese’s campaign account wouldn’t worry a fly — he’s got just $1,999 on hand for his District Attorney campaign.

(Side note: Chesa Boudin, a public defender running for the DA seat, filed to run after the campaign finance deadline for this round. So his cash isn’t reflected in the numbers released.)

Nancy Tung, a trial prosecutor, has $27,800 in the bank right now. She’s also the only candidate to have received a contribution from the Police Officers Association, which gave her $500.

District Attorney’s Office staff are also banking — quite literally — on Loftus.

Exactly 12 current District Attorney’s Office staffers donated a range of funds to Loftus’ campaign. I didn’t spot a single one listed as a donor to other candidates in the race.

Sharon Bacon, an assistant District Attorney, gave Loftus $100, for instance, and District Attorney’s Office Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Bastian gave her a cool $250. Four attorneys from the District Attorney’s Office gave the full $500 allowed by law: Julius Deguia, Jennifer Frost, Ana Gonzalez and David Mitchell.

Now before your eyebrows go through the roof, remember two things: First of all, that’s 12 out of 128 total prosecutors in the office, according to the District Attorney’s Office, and second of all, Loftus herself used to work there as a prosecutor.

“Most donations are about relationships,” said Jim Ross, a political consultant with oodles of experience in The City who added, “at the end of the day very few donations are given for mercenary reasons.”

So were those donations from her old pals? I called Loftus but did not hear back by press time.

And if donations are about relationships, Loftus’ are particularly revealing of her political connections and position as a member of the so-called “City Family.” Mayor Ed Lee’s former Chief of Staff Steve Kawa donated to her campaign, as did her former fellow police commissioner Thomas Mazzucco and even Assemblymember Buffy Wicks.

Dautch’s donations come not only from San Francisco, but from places far and wide including Beverly Hills, Austin, Texas, Kansas City, New York City, Cleveland, and even Englewood New Jersey.

Worldly fellow, apparently.

* * *

Well the big slug-fest of this political season, the District 5 supervisor’s race, also has numbers in. Though I’ll tell you, they don’t reveal much yet.

The Democratic Socialists of America’s local champion, Dean Preston, raised $102,000 by the end of last year, according to the latest numbers, just a spit ahead of Mayor London Breed’s appointment to the D5 seat, Vallie Brown, who raised $93,000. City College of San Francisco Trustee Shanell Williams was a late entry, so she had just $4,500 by Thursday’s filing.

D5 is a progressive place including the Haight, the Fillmore, part of the Inner Sunset, and other neighborhoods, giving a potential edge to Preston with his progressive political allegiances. But Brown has the advantage of incumbency, and her supporters would contend that while she allies with the Board of Supervisors’ moderate faction, she has carved her own path with progressive political choices on the board.

That said, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if, and when, independent expenditure money enters the race. Brown’s allies have taken that path before, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them materialize in this race.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.


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