With monetary contributions from 346 donors topping $293,389 as of Jan. 17, Brooks Firestone’s campaign for 3rd District supervisor has amassed a considerable cash reserve and eclipsed the other three candidates’ combined expenditures.
According to records from the Santa Barbara County Elections Division, Firestone has spent $54,941.55 and incurred $181,323.16 in outstanding debts to pay for campaign staff salaries, literature, consultants, postage, polling and office expenses.
Of the $293,389 his campaign has raised, Firestone personally contributed two loans totaling $125,000.
Ken Poole, Firestone’s campaign manager, said a variety of people donate to Firestone’s campaign.
“I don’t think there is a type,” Poole said. “There’s everyone from local soccer moms to ranchers concerned with threats to agriculture. People pull us aside all the time – they say, ‘Here’s a check, Brooks, keep up the good fight.'”
Firestone’s records contain dozens of contributions from ranchers, retired people, investors and business owners. Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson, both vintners at the Kendall-Jackson winery, donated $1,000 each to Firestone’s campaign.
His largest single contributor is the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Government Committee, which donated $10,000. Firestone also received a $5,000 contribution from the David Smyser for 3rd District supervisor committee. Smyser dropped out of the race for supervisor in its early stages and threw his support behind Firestone.
Poole said Firestone has chosen not to take money from developers, landlords or oil companies. While some money from such interests groups slips into campaign coffers, Poole said it is immediately refunded.
“It’s hard to turn down money in a political campaign,” Poole said. “But Brooks calls and says, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.'”
Poole said the Friends for Firestone Campaign has already returned over $20,000 in unwanted contributions, including a $2,500 donation from Michael Towbes, a prominent Santa Barbara County developer.
However, campaign finance statements list contributions of between $100 and $2,000 from several other real estate developers and landlords, including Norma Geyer from the Embarcadero Company, Newlin Hastings of Hastings Enterprises, Don Oliphant of DWO Enterprises and developer Wayne Siemens.
Despite the disparity between Firestone’s available cash and John Buttny’s campaign reserves, Poole said the election will be decided based on the issues, not the amount of money each candidate can spend.
“I don’t think money affects things in Isla Vista at all,” Poole said. “It’s being there that makes a difference. It doesn’t matter if you have $10,000 or $400,000. It matters what resonates with people.”