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Dec
2014
2

Building Trades Supporting Campaign Contribution Limits in Monterey County

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Monterey County Supervisors are hoping to pass legislation that would limit contributions in countywide races.  The proposal, sponsored by supervisors Dave Potter and Simon Salinas, would put county political contribution limits at the same level as those for statewide positions.  The offices affected would include county sheriff, district attorney, supervisor, schools superintendent and a handful of others.  

For Potter, the issue hits close to home. His 2012 reelection resulted in more than $500,000 in total fundraising.  In 2014, Sheriff-elect Steve Bernal topped that number on his own.  Potter told the Monterey Herald, “There shouldn’t be the perception that the one who spends the most money is going to win, and that’s kind of the way it’s been headed.”

This year’s election of Steve Bernal brought the issue to the forefront as his family connections helped him out-raise his opponent by a large margin.  In his post election message to the local media, outgoing Sheriff Scott Miller objected to Bernal’s family spending on the race.  

“When you have someone who can write checks until the cows come home for hundreds of thousands of dollars, I can’t keep pace with that. I don’t have any relatives with that kind of money,” Miller said at the time. “You can literally buy the office.”

Monterey/Santa Cruz Building and Construction Trades Council CEO Ron Chesshire supports the idea. He argues that some groups have accumulated enough money to swing elections.  Chesshire told the Monterey Herald that the election of Bernal isn’t the only reason his is supporting Salinas and Potter’s bill, but was “a contributing factor.”

“This last election has made it extremely obvious why we should have limits,” Chesshire said. “I don’t want to direct it at the Bernal election, but during this last election cycle that was probably the most visible incident, and I think it probably helped to put it over the top.”

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