Richardson Sets Fundraising Record As 2018 Reelection Campaigns Issue First Financial Disclosures

Vice Mayor Rex Richardson brought in a record-setting $70,000 in campaign contributions since announcing his bid to be re-elected as the Ninth District council member. Photo: Jason Ruiz

The first campaign finance numbers are in for the 2018 election and big money is already being spent to secure incumbents’ council seats inside Long Beach City Council chambers.

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Nearly $250,000 in campaign contributions have been logged for the five council districts up for re-election with Vice Mayor Rex Richardson securing over $70,000 in funding, a record during the first reporting period in any council campaign cycle ever.

Fifth District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo reported just under $60,000 in forms filed this week with Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price posting the third highest total at over $45,700 raised. Richardson, who represents a historically less wealthy district than Price and Mungo, has gone outside the city to supplement his campaign funding.

In a statement, Richardson—who announced his reelection bid and some think has designs on succeeding Robert Garcia as mayor of Long Beach—touted his successes in his first term serving the Ninth District, including major investments in infrastructure and business development along some of North Long Beach’s large corridors.

“I’m grateful to my family, friends, neighbors, and supporters for contributing and being a part of my re-election campaign. We’re off to a record-breaking start and I want to thank everyone for helping provide the resources we need to run a successful campaign,” Richardson said. “Because of your hard work, we will continue our fight to ensure that every neighborhood in Long Beach is treated fairly, and make our city work smarter, be more inclusive, and responsive to the needs of residents.”

The fundraising figures raised by all candidates have trumped their efforts in the year leading up to their elections in 2014. Between January 2013 and January 2014, the year leading up to their first election, Richardson ($35,600), Price ($16,085), Mungo ($44,047), and Council Members Lena Gonzalez ($27,267) and Roberto Uranga ($14,548) all raised less money than they have in the first six months of 2017.

Among the council seats up for reelection in 2018 (First, Third, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Districts) thus far, only Price has an opponent filed to run against her. Of the other incumbents running for reelection next Spring—city attorney, city prosecutor, mayor—only Mayor Robert Garcia has someone filed to challenge him for the seat.

The first campaign finance numbers are in for the 2018 election and big money is already being spent to secure incumbents’ council seats inside Long Beach City Council chambers.


 

Anyone vying for the mayorship will have a steep funding hill to climb.


Since announcing his bid to retain his seat, Garcia has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars during the first reporting period. He won the 2014 election by raising just over $280,000 total.

In addition to that, he’s already received endorsements from both the Long Beach Police Officers Association and the Long Beach Firefighters Association, both citing the mayor’s successful Measure A & B campaign that has injected the two departments with millions of dollars for new equipment and personnel. The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and former Long Beach Mayors Bob Foster and Beverly O’Neill have also handed endorsements to Garcia.

Where the money will go, especially if incumbents run unopposed, is unclear. In April the city council voted 5-3 to amend rules relating to office holder accounts that would allow council members to donate to other campaigns, including state and county races, out of their office holder accounts.

Richardson said, opponent or not, he will campaign.

"I believe elections are a great exercise in civic engagement and opportunity to look ahead,” Richardson said. “But we aren't taking anything for granted. With or without an opponent, we are going to engage our constituents in a grassroots campaign about the future of our great city."

There is still time for challengers to present themselves as the nominating period doesn’t close until January 2018. While they might wait until then to announce, this week’s disclosures suggest they might not want to wait that long to start fundraising.

Election day is April 10.



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