Return to Campaign for 15th Congressional District | Columnists
Deputy Kevin Mullin got ahead in fundraising for the 15th congressional district race, while Burlingame Councilmember Emilia Beach maintained a competitive campaign cash. As for the San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepahis fundraising is shrouded in mystery.
According to the campaigns, Mullin raised more than $384,000 from January 1 to March 31, including $200,000 in March alone; Beach raised over $164,000 during the same period; the Canepa campaign abruptly refused to respond to a request from me regarding their fundraising during the period.
For the full campaign cycle, Mullin raised over $605,000, Beach raised over $441,000.
All of these figures are estimates. An official report will be filed by the campaigns later in the month, and it’s likely Mullin and Beach’s numbers will be higher as some final checks come in.
Mullin, Beach and Canepa are running to replace the US representative. Jackie Speierwho announced that she would be retiring at the end of the year.
This is a significant turnaround from fundraising reports at the end of 2021, which showed Canepa had raised over $400,000 and was well ahead in the race for the money. Beach was second and Mullin a distant third, relying on $60,000 in personal funds to launch his campaign, including a $45,000 personal loan.
Mullin’s poor performance is likely to have helped energize a campaign that got off to a slow start, hampered, perhaps, by expectations that Mullin’s run would be more of a stroll. Canepa, on the other hand, started off with a sprint and his spirited campaign and startling fundraising totals clearly had an effect on the tranquil mindset of Mullin’s faithful.
Canepa’s aggressive campaign makes it all the more curious that there is nothing to say about its most recent fundraising efforts. When he took the lead in January, Canepa trumpeted his success early and often. This time, nothing. When I inquired via text about their fundraising through March, Canepa referred me to their campaign consultant, Orrin Evanswho replied to Canepa: “Ignore that.
Yet at every turn, the political establishment was surprised by Canepa’s campaign. It’s entirely possible that his campaign finance report will contain more surprises. Any other comments would be speculative, and we can expect the report to be tabled shortly.
In the meantime, it’s clear that Beach is all in the competition to finish in the top two in the June 7 primary and make it to the November general election. The conventional wisdom has been that it would be Mullin and Canepa in the general. These latest numbers suggest Beach could change that dynamic.
Its fundraising at the end of 2021 showed a strong base of individual donors, centered in Burlingame and emanating from there. She said the latest report would show a greater reliance on individuals.
“Our donations came from individual supporters from every town in our district,” she said. “Teachers, students, retirees, non-profit workers, veterans and many more donated from $10 to $5,800 and amounts in between. The money we raise to fuel this campaign comes from ordinary people outside the political establishment who feel energized and inspired by our message.
Likewise, the Mullin fundraiser “builds on Kevin’s strength in this community,” the campaign manager said. Brian Rogersand the funds come from individuals across the county, including “grassroots and labor.”
Beach used some of her money to launch a new video ad, the first in the campaign. Titled “Shoes”, it shows the different shoes she has worn as an army captain, businesswoman, volunteer and board member.
The ad opens with Beach saying, “Jackie Speier has some big shoes to fill.” A video of Speier is in the background.
It’s an unwritten rule in local politics that campaign materials don’t include a photo of someone who supported your opponent. In this case, Speier gave Mullin an unusually high endorsement.
So it’s a little surprising to see this photo of Speier displayed briefly, but prominently, in the Beach ad. Asked about it, Beach said the screenshot was from Speier’s public video announcement of his retirement. “I was impressed with his message and his life’s work,” Beach said.
It could be argued that video is, in essence, in the public domain, but the problem with unwritten rules is, you know, they’re not written. In the past, Speier has been known to react angrily to the unauthorized use of her image. In one notable instance, she supported the contestant’s opponent who used her photo without permission. And that tipped the scales for who Speier finally approved.
Mark Simon is a seasoned journalist, whose career included 15 years as an executive at SamTrans and Caltrain. He can be contacted at [email protected]