There are whispers in Sacramento that outgoing Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata is not exactly chummy with 19th District Democratic candidate Hannah-Beth Jackson. If that's the case, it hasn't been reflected in the state Democratic Party's willingness to help fund her campaign in recent weeks.
Still, there's some evidence that at least three current senators weren't taking any chances. Instead of contributing money to a state party effort at least partly controlled by Perata (and also incoming Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg), these three contributed big bucks from their campaign accounts to the Santa Barbara County Democratic Central Committee.
Through Sept. 30, the county committee contributed $83,000 to the Jackson campaign. In reports filed this week, the source of that money was revealed. The primary contributors are Sens. Sheila Kuehl ($25,000), Alan Lowenthal ($30,200) and Dean Florez ($30,200).
It was difficult to track down the county committee's financial report, because it did not file the report electronically -- although the secretary of state's Web site states, "If a filer has raised or spent a cumulative amount of $50,000 or more, the filer is required to file electronically."
When I called Santa Barbara Democratic Chairman Daraka Larimore-Hall yesterday, he immediately arranged to have the group's accountant e-mail me a copy of the report that was filed on paper. Larimore-Hall said he did not believe the committee was required to file electronically, but that he would instruct the accountant to e-file in the future.
Ventura County Republican Central Committee Chairman Mike Osborn said the Santa Barbara County Democrats had shown a "lack of transparency" in disclosing their finances.
Now that the report has become broadly available, the sources of that money might be somewhat disappointing to supporters of Republican Tony Strickland. Some had been hoping one of the Santa Barbara County Democratic Party's' senatorial benefactors had been a recipient of tobacco industry contributions. The Strickland camp hopes to blunt the negative publicity he and the Ventura County Republican Central Committee have received for accepting industry contributions. But Kuehl, Lowenthal and Florez have received no such money in the current election cycle. Florez, however, did receive $6,600 from the Altria Group, makers of Philip Morris cigarettes, in the 2005-06 election cycle.