As you can tell by the six pounds of glossy junk mail flyers arriving daily in your mailbox, there is a primary election underway with voting this Tuesday, June 7. The only significant, contested down-ballot race on the day of the Bernie vs. Hillary California battle royale is the primary for Mark Leno’s soon-to-be-vacated District 11 State Senate seat, pitting (as these things so often do) two ambitious and very well-funded lefties from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors against one another.
In this corner (points left) we have Jane Kim, the well-heeled, Bernie-endorsed, Suhr-opposing Tenderloin/SoMa supe who did not particularly care for hosting the Super Bowl. And in this corner (points center-left) we have the tall-even-without-heels Scott Wiener, the thief-thwarting, anti-tent city, Suhr-supporting, public-nudity-opposing Castro/Dolores Park-area supe who has been delightfully mouthy with Fox News reporters.
According to figures in the California Secretary of State campaign finance database, Wiener and Kim have raised more than $2 million between them. This suprasses the previous $2,086,444 record raised the 2004 District 11 race — and we’re only at the primary midpoint. We still have five months until they face off again in November. So who’s writing these checks? We poked around the database to shine a little sun on these dark money fundraising proceedings.
Wiener’s Biggest Donors
Wiener’s campaign entered the month of May with about $1.3 million raised, according to the Chronicle. The campaign finance database of Wiener donors shows he’s pulled in roughly $110,000 more in the month of May alone. That means Wiener’s campaign is approaching $1.5 million in contributions, which is more than double the amount Kim has raised. To be fair, Wiener got into the race almost five months before Kim and he's had a head start. At the same time, he’s got quite a bit of Visa, Airbnb, and (allegedly) Chevron money in the mix.
The funnest bit of gossip buried in Wiener’s donor list is that Kink.com and the Armory gave him $1,000 (they now prefer the name “Armory Community Center”). Relatively speaking, that is not a huge donation. Wiener’s campaign has also received nearly $10,000 from political power couple Clint and Janet Reilly, more than $15,000 from tech billionaire gadfly Ron Conway, and another almost-ten-grand from Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. (Chesky’s support of Wiener is not surprising, considering that Ms. Kim has advocated for more aggressive taxation of Airbnb hosts.)
A mild controversy has emerged as to whether Wiener has received “dark money” from a Chevron-supported PAC, as Ms. Kim has alleged. The PAC in question is an LGBT organization called Equality California and they strongly deny receiving funneled Chevron money. Either way, Equality California has donated $3,200 to Wiener’s campaign, and all told Wiener has received about $43,000 from roughly a dozen different PACs.
Kim’s Biggest Donors
Jane Kim’s donation database shows that she’s received even more PAC money than Wiener (about $63,000), though almost all of her PAC money is from teacher, public employee, and service employee unions. All told, Supervisor Kim started May with about $500,000 in donations, and has had a slightly more lucrative month of May than Wiener with about $152,000 raised. That puts her donation total at about $650,000.
The most recognizable names on her donor list are Board colleague Aaron Peskin ($250), waste firm Recology ($4,200) and perhaps your landlord, should your landlord happen to be Victor Makras ($1,000) or Boston Properties ($8,400).
The hilarious thing here is that the results of Tuesday’s District 11 primary do not even matter whatsoever. Thanks to California’s “top-two” primary system, Supes Wiener and Kim are just going to run against one another again in the November election for the exact same seat, with five more months to raise even more ungodly sums. Our condolences in advance to your flyer-packed mailboxes and recycling bins.
Previously: Bernie Endorses Jane Kim