Villaraigosa Is Set for a Well-Funded Race
The councilman reports more than $600,000 on hand, behind the mayor and Bob Hertzberg.
Two months after he entered the race to unseat Los Angeles
Mayor James K. Hahn, Antonio Villaraigosa has raised more
than $643,000, quickly positioning himself among the
best-funded candidates in the race.
The city councilman, who finished second to Hahn in 2001,
still trails the mayor and fellow challenger Bob Hertzberg
in the important race for cash before the March
But Villaraigosa said Wednesday that his rapid fundraising
should put to rest questions about the viability of his
young campaign. "This closes the door on those who argued
that I got in too late and that I'm not going to stay in
this race until the end," he said.
Minus expenses, Villaraigosa's campaign account now totals
almost $610,000, according to his campaign finance
That probably puts him several hundred thousand dollars
behind Hertzberg and as much as $1 million behind the
Neither Hahn nor Hertzberg has filed a report yet.
Three years ago, Villaraigosa and Hahn spent $3.8 million
and $4.4 million on their campaigns to become the top two
finishers in the election and earn the right to face each
other in a runoff.
Mayoral candidate and state Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sun
Valley) also reported his latest fundraising Wednesday,
filing papers that showed he raised $50,456 during the last
three months. Alarcon's campaign war chest now totals about
$180,000, his report shows.
Villaraigosa and Alarcon were required to disclose their
fundraising earlier than other mayoral candidates because
they also have active state campaign committees.
Hahn, Hertzberg, Councilman Bernard C. Parks and the four
other mayoral candidates have until Monday to mail their
campaign finance reports for the three-month period ending
Like Villaraigosa, Alarcon said he was satisfied with his
fundraising, adding: "I have always said my campaign is not
"I have been spending my time fighting the water rate
increase," Alarcon said, referring to a lawsuit he is
supporting that alleges that Hahn and the City Council
illegally raised water rates this year. "I think that is
more important to the people of Los Angeles than raising
money for the campaign."
But Hahn political strategist Bill Wardlaw said raising
money was the most important race at the moment, and that
he was confident the mayor would retain a healthy lead when
all the candidates report their finances.
"There's no question who has raised the most money,"
"The only interesting thing to focus on is who will be in
In his last report, Hahn reported that he had about $1.5
million in the bank as of June 30.
Hertzberg, who raised more money than the mayor in the
first six months of the year, reported that he then had
Hertzberg campaign spokesman Matt Szabo said Wednesday that
Hertzberg was certain he would remain the best-funded
challenger. "That is exactly where we want to be," Szabo
Parks' campaign, which reported having about $66,000 in the
bank on June 30, did not respond to a request for
Villaraigosa, who has attacked the mayor for presiding over
a City Hall that is being investigated by local and federal
prosecutors looking into city contracting, interpreted his
fundraising success and that of other challengers as a
repudiation of the mayor's position.
"If you look at the collective filings, what you see is a
groundswell of opposition to an administration racked by a
corruption scandal," Villaraigosa said.
Villaraigosa received money from a broad spectrum of
interests, including attorneys, developers, City Hall
lobbyists, teachers, unions, entertainment industry
executives, city contractors, and state lawmakers who
worked with him when he was speaker of the state
City Hall lobbyists Arnie Berghoff and Stephen Afriat gave
Villaraigosa's campaign $500 and $300 checks,
Villaraigosa also received at least $500 each from three
towing and two cab companies with city contracts.
Villaraigosa's biggest donors â€" who were able
to give more than the usual $1,000 because donation limits
were partially suspended when Parks loaned himself $50,000
earlier this year â€" were developer Ramon
Bonin, American Apparel Chief Executive Dov Charney, New
York-based HL Capital Chairman Leo Hindery Jr. and retiree
Homero Meruelo. Each gave $7,000.
Former Los Angeles councilman and lobbyist Art Snyder, who
in 1996 pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering
charges before his conviction was overturned by an
appellate court, gave $2,000.
Villaraigosa said there would be no favorable treatment for
those who support him. "My policy has been throughout my
years of public service to make decisions based on the
merits, not on any help that they have given."
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