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Money continues to pour into City Council race

Posted: March 7, 2014 5:45 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2014 5:45 p.m.

Two candidates — a political novice and local pharmacy owner, along with a water district board member — pulled in more than $10,000 in campaign contributions over January and February, pacing the field of those vying for a seat in April’s Santa Clarita City Council election, according to recent campaign disclosures.

Out of the 13 candidates running for one of the three seats open on the City Council, the one with the most reported contributions in the recent filing period was Moazzem Chowdhury, who reported $35,029.82 in contributions.

The lion’s share of Chowdhury’s contributions, $21,060, comes in the form of loans, but Chowdhury also reported $12,594 in monetary contributions, as well as $1,375.82 in non-monetary contributions.

Chowdhury’s monetary contributions were the most of any candidate over the recent filing period, which ran from Jan. 1 to Feb. 22.

One of the last candidates to join the crowded City Council race, Chowdhury was also the biggest spender during the recent filing period, shelling out total expenditures of $22,183.62, according to filings.

All total, he reported an ending cash balance of $18,949.82, according to documents.

Chowdhury could not be reached for comment Friday.

Another big gainer in terms of contributions was Maria Gutzeit, a member of the Newhall County Water District board, who reported $10,953 in monetary contributions along with $1,550 in non-monetary contributions.

“I was really pleased with what we did in a short period of time,” Gutzeit said.

Gutzeit reported several donations of $1,000 during the period, including from The Conservation Station, a local recycling center, and Lance K. Williams of Williams Homes.

Gutzeit said she has been seeking out new campaign donors in this election, especially since she is contending in a crowded field for funding.

“I had to find some new money, and I was really pleased with how that worked out,” Gutzeit said. “We’re going to need to continue to do that, and hopefully we’ll be equally successful moving forward.”

Gutzeit also reported $6,805.38 in expenditures, leaving her with one of the larger cash balances of any candidate — $14,246.12 as of the end of the filing period.

The recent filing period is not the last before April’s election. Candidates will also file disclosure forms for the period running from Feb. 23 to March 22.

Incumbent fundraising
The most recent filings also showed that the two incumbents running for re-election — Mayor Laurene Weste and Councilwoman Marsha McLean — continued to pull in contributions for their campaigns.

Weste reported a cash balance of $28,155.94 as of the end of the recent filing period.

That available cash comes even after the longtime councilwoman spent $14,150 on her campaign over the filing period. Weste reported $7,146 in monetary contributions in the latest filing period.

McLean also reported a hefty ending cash balance at the end of the filing period — $22,249.03.

She also reported $4,496 in contributions versus $3,986.88 in expenditures in the most recent filing period, according to documents.

Thousands on hand
Another candidate, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, reported $13,080 in expenditures in the recent filing period, along with $7,905 in contributions.

Mercado-Fortine had an ending cash balance of $14,235 as of the end of the latest filing period, according to documents.

Alan Ferdman also reported a sizable cash balance, $12,263, for his campaign. He reported $2,235 in monetary contributions and $2,000 in loans for total contributions of $4,235 during the latest filing period.

Ferdman also reported $5,533 in total expenditures.

Duane Harte, too, reported a five-figure cash balance at the end of the filing period, reporting $10,700.

Harte also reported $4,322 in campaign contributions and $1,476 in expenditures in the recent filing period.

Dante Acosta reported $2,790 in monetary contributions and $447 in non-monetary contributions. Adding in a $5,000 loan to the campaign brings his total contributions for the filing period to $8,237.

In the same period, Acosta spent $2,734.44, leaving him with a cash balance of $7,297.75.

Hundreds spent
One of the relative late-comers to the City Council race, Stephen Daniels, reported $880 in total contributions for the filing period, as well as $721.51 in expenses.

Berta Gonzalez-Harper reported $298 in monetary contributions and $2,000 in loans.

She reported $2,165.95 in total expenditures, leaving her with an ending cash balance of $135.05 as of the end of the filing period, according to records.

Three candidates — Sandra Bull, Dennis Conn and Paul Wieczorek — filed forms with the city indicating that they do not anticipate spending or receiving $1,000 or more during the calendar year.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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