Education in Oakland

Can’t Buy Me Love

Posted by novometro on June 13, 2006

There is probably no constituency more troubled by the possibility of a runoff race between Ignacio De La Fuente and Ron Dellums than the cash contributors to both men's campaigns.

Another five months on the stump will cost more money than both candidates have in the bank. And passing the hat will be harder a second time. That will be especially for true Mr. De La Fuente, who started raising money two years ago, and finished with only a third of the vote.

According to campaign finance records, Mr. De La Fuente had $183,000 on May 20, and Mr. Dellums had $148,000.

Both candidates have agreed to a voluntary spending limit of $346,000, which works out to $0.70 per Oakland resident. But when you consider that only 75,000 people voted for mayor last week, the cost per vote becomes considerably higher. Mr. De La Fuente, who started raising money for the race two years ago, shelled out $252,000 during the course of the campaign and won around 25,000 votes. That's about $10 a vote. Mr. Dellums, who entered the race in October, paid less. The former Congressman garnered 38,000 votes after spending $240,000, or $6.30 per vote.

If Mr. Dellums fails to tally 50 percent of the vote when all the ballots have been counted, there will be a runoff election in November, and both candidates will be able to spend a fresh $346,000. But with Mr. Dellums narrowly missing an outright victory, it will not be easy for Mr. De La Fuente to convince potential donors that a contribution to his campaign is a wise investment. Local nabobs looking for some juice in City Hall will also be thinking that the majority of the 10,000 votes that went to liberal City Councilwoman Nancy Nadel are likely to go to Mr. Dellums in November.

But there is something heartening in all this. Whether you back Mr. Dellums or Mr. De La Fuente to replace Jerry Brown, this election is proof that money can't buy every political office in California.


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