From left: San Francisco District Attorney candidates Suzy Loftus, Chesa Boudin, Nancy Tung and Leif Dautch sit at the beginning of a debate at UC Hastings School of Law on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Money flows into DA race with election day approaching

Candidates in the district attorney’s race are seeing some of their best fundraising numbers yet with heightened attention being paid to one of the most contentious races in the upcoming election.

With the last-minute appointment of candidate Suzy Loftus as interim district attorney generating controversy around the race, all four candidates appear to have enjoyed more support than usual.

But Loftus brought in more money than any other candidate during the most recent fundraising period between Sept. 19 and Oct. 22, according to campaign finance records released Thursday.

She received more than $135,000 in that time period for a total of nearly $481,000 so far this year, the filings show. Her campaign still had more than $178,000 to spend as of Oct. 19.

“We’ve raised more money in the last fundraising period than all of our opponents as momentum continues to grow in the final weeks of the campaign,” said Lauren Feuerborn, campaign manager for Loftus. “We’re seeing unprecedented numbers of volunteers every day.”

Candidate Chesa Boudin was not far behind as more than $117,000 in contributions poured into his campaign over the period, the filings show. His campaign has brought in a total of around $623,000 so far this year. He had some $136,000 on hand as of Oct. 19.

“We had by far our best fundraising period in terms of daily average,” said Boudin, a deputy public defender. The last time his campaign had a better month was when he brought in around $100,000 in campaign contributions in June, Boudin said.

Candidate Nancy Tung, meanwhile, recorded more than $49,000 between Sept. 22 and Oct. 19, according to the filings. She has raised roughly $140,000 so far this year and still had roughly $93,000 to spend as of Oct. 19.

Candidate Leif Dautch raised the least this period but said his campaign was still performing better than before.

Dautch saw upward of $28,000 flow into his campaign during the same time frame, the records show. He has received just under $187,000 in campaign contributions throughout the year, including a $20,000 loan from himself, and had not spent roughly $71,000 as of Oct. 19.

These numbers do not include any of the money that candidates raised or spent in 2018.

Both Dautch and Boudin attributed their gains in part to the decision by Mayor London Breed on Oct. 4 to appoint Loftus to the vacant seat when former District Attorney George Gascon unexpectedly announced he would not finish his term in office.

The move caused a backlash from supporters of the other candidates in the race as well as the non-partisan ACLU, which argued that Breed had unfairly tilted the scales of the election by not allowing the race to finish without an incumbent in the seat.

“We saw a 66 percent increase in our fundraising pace in this reporting period over the last,” said Dautch, a deputy state attorney general. “And our volunteer numbers have doubled since the appointment.”

Boudin also said his campaign had been building momentum as the election rapidly approaches.

“People are paying more attention,” Boudin said.

The campaign contributions are not the only money coming into the race.

Hundreds and thousands of dollars in outside spending have also flooded the contest as election day draws closer.

One recently launched independent expenditure committee from the San Francisco Police Officers Association had spent nearly $89,000 on polling and mailers opposing Boudin as of Tuesday, campaign finance records show.

The committee received $100,000 from the SFPOA, which has called Boudin “dangerous,” as well as $5,000 each from a statewide law enforcement group and the San Diego police union.

Included in its spending was $3,500 worth of polling for a committee supporting Loftus.

But there has also been much outside spending in support of Boudin, including tens of thousands of dollars from the local Service Employees International Union. One committee has spent nearly $189,000 so far this year to support him as of Oct. 19, according to campaign finance records.

“He has clearly, between the independent expenditures and his campaign, the largest campaign,” said Jim Ross, a political consultant whose firm is running an independent expenditure committee for Dautch.

But Ross said a lot of the funding coming into the Boudin campaign is from outside San Francisco.

“Chesa is really running a national campaign,” Ross said. “The question is can all these out of state, out of San Francisco donors equal San Francisco votes? He has to translate outside of San Francisco donations and activism into San Francisco votes.”

Boudin disputes that his support is largely from out of county, since the campaign finance filings do not show supporters who contribute small donations of less than $100.

This story has been updated to include additional information.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Just Posted

Battle brews at SF police union over leadership style

Gary Delagnes-endorsed candidate to challenge Tony Montoya for presidency

Mayor Breed’s choice for Planning Commission clears first hurdle

Appointee Susan Diamond says she ‘wants to hear from all communities’

Multiple equipment and power failures lead to Muni delays

A series of mechanical and equipment problems caused major delays in Muni… Continue reading

Report finds disparities in PG&E power shutoffs among SF customers

Bayview-Hunters Point has highest rate of PG&E disconnections for nonpayment

City to double rate of bike rack installation

Bike racks are about to spring up across The City like wildflowers.… Continue reading

Most Read