Although 13 Santa Monica City Council candidates and eight potential Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District school board members submitted paperwork to run in the November election, only five council candidates and two school board candidates had launched their fundraising campaigns through the most recent campaign finance. report deadline last month.
Those candidates were city council incumbent Lana Negrete, first-time candidates Ellis Raskin, Caroline Torosis, Troy Harris and Jesse Zwick, and school board incumbents Laurie Lieberman and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein.
Current data covers the period from January 1, 2022 to July 15, 2022.
Who raised the most money?
Of the seven candidates who submitted the first wave of campaign finance information, one clear fundraising leader emerged: Caroline Torosis.
From January 1 to July 15, TOROSIS FOR CITY COUNCIL 2022 raised $36,090 from 162 donations. The campaign was supported by 132 unique individual donors, plus two political campaigns.
The second-highest campaign earner so far has been outgoing school board member Laurie Lieberman, whose campaign to re-elect Laurie Lieberman for the 2022 school board raised $24,400 from 78 people, plus two campaigns.
The standing counts for total fundraising are:
Caroline Torosis – City Council – $36,090
Laurie Lieberman – School Board – $24,400
Jesse Zwick – City Council – $19,793.25
Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein – School Board – $13,651
Lana Negrete – City Council – $6,920
Troy Harris – City Council – $6,857.15*
Ellis Raskin – City Council – $4,120
* In Troy Harris’ campaign, personal loans are listed as donations.
Who receives the largest average donations?
While individual donations to candidates for city council are capped at $410 per donor per candidate by city code, these rules do not apply to what an individual may pledge to a school board campaign, so it will show that the campaigns with the highest average donation per donor are those of Lieberman and Tahvildaran-Jesswein.
Tahvildaran-Jesswein received donations from 42 donors and one campaign, with an average donation amount of $317.47 — the highest average per donor among the seven candidates who reported data through mid- July. Four of his donors gave $1,000, including State Senator Ben Allen.
Lieberman received eight donations of $1,000 each, earning an average donation amount of $305 per individual donor, including two donations totaling $2,000 from Allen, plus an additional $2,000 from Bloom for the 2022 Overseer, the member of The now defunct Richard Bloom Campaign Assembly ran to take over as LA Supervisor of the County’s Third District.
The ongoing counts for the average donation total, from highest to lowest, are:
Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein – School Board – $317.47
Laurie Lieberman – School Board – $305
Caroline Torosis – City Council – $269.33
Jesse Zwick – City Council – $263.91
Ellis Raskin – City Council – $257.50
Lana Negrete – City Council – $256.30
Who donates to political campaigns?
By far the most common occupation listed among campaign donors was ‘retired’, with around 19% of donors listed as retired – 64 in total. Business-related occupations, including small business owners, CEOs, vice presidents and accountants, were the second most common subset of campaign-donating occupations in Santa Monica, with 38 business-related jobs listed among the donors. The second most common profession was that of legal professionals, with 36 lawyers/prosecutors donating in this category. Educators and education advocates made up 30 of the donors who gave to the campaigns in the first part of the year, followed by health and wellbeing professionals, who numbered 24 among the roughly 342 unique donors in total. A total of 78 donors have registered as public employees in various agencies, departments and levels of government.
Where are the donors located?
Of the roughly 340 unique donors — counting each individual once, even if they donated money to multiple campaigns or multiple times to a single candidate, and excluding political campaigns — about 42% came from within. of Santa Monica and the remaining 58% of donors said they lived outside the city limits.
Of all the candidates, Lieberman garnered the highest share of local donors, with 65 of his 78 total unique donors residing in the city of Santa Monica, meaning that more than 83% of those who donated to his campaign are local residents.
Lieberman, who as a school board member represents Malibu, Santa Monica and parts of Topanga, received no donations from Malibu or Topanga.
Outgoing board member Tahvildaran-Jesswein received donations from 42 unique donors, 32 of whom were Santa Monica residents; however, one Malibu resident and one Topanga resident each donated, meaning that approximately 81% of his donors are from the territory he represents.
The campaign with the lowest proportion of local voters was that of Ellis Raskin. Of the 16 total Ellis Raskin donors for the 2022 Santa Monica City Council recorded through July 15, only two were Santa Monica residents, or 12.5% of all donors.
The ongoing counts for the percentage of local donors, from highest to lowest, are:
Laurie Lieberman – School Board – 83% Santa Monicans
Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein – School Board – 81% Santa Monica/Malibu residents
Lana Negrete – City Council – 54% Santa Monicans
Caroline Torosis – City Council – 29% Santa Monicans
Jesse Zwick – City Council – 22.6% Santa Monicans
Ellis Raskin – City Council – 12.5% Santa Monicans
* Troy Harris campaign reports show a discrepancy that makes this number unreliable
Which politicians fund each other?
Current elected officials, named leaders, candidates and other notable figures have chosen to lend more than just political support to local campaigns, with thousands of dollars changing hands as the November election approaches.
Here are some names you may know who have chosen to financially support the campaigns of their chosen candidates:
School board member Maria Leon-Vazquez donated to Torosis for the city council
School board member Jon Kean donated to Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Lieberman, each for the school board
School board member Laurie Lieberman donated to Negrete and Torosis, both for the city council
School board member Keith Coleman donated to Torosis for the city council
City Council member Gleam Davis donated to several candidates: Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Lieberman for the school board and Torosis and Zwick for the city council
Councilwoman Kristin McCowan donated to Torosis for the city council
State Senator Ben Allen donated to Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Lieberman for the school board
Assemblyman Richard Bloom donated to Tahvildaran-Jesswein for the school board; Bloom’s campaign fund was donated to Lieberman’s
Former Mayor Ted Winterer’s 2020 campaign used some of its residual funds to donate to Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Lieberman and Torosis
Former Mayor Tony Vazquez’s campaign for the State Board of Equalization also donated money to Torosis’s campaign
The City of Santa Monica provides a wealth of campaign finance data on its website, updated periodically as new financial reporting deadlines arrive. This complete dataset is available at public.netfile.com/pub2/Default.aspx?aid=CSM.