Randon Lane of Murrieta and Shellie Milne of Hemet, who are challenging Riverside County 3rd District Supv. Chuck Washington in the June 7 primary election, have taken diametrically different paths to financing their campaigns. The top two vote-getters will face off in the November general election.
Washington has raised a total of $325,000 in contributions, of which $77,000 (or about a quarter) has been received since Jan. 1. While Lane trails in dollar amounts, his pattern is similar to Washington’s. Lane has received about $207,000 in total contributions and also about 25 percent or $48,000 between Jan. 1 and April 23.
But Milne has taken a very different approach, unlike the traditional politicians. She developed a budget for her campaign shortly after deciding to enter the race. She figured out the cost of signs, ads and other campaign essentials. She sought donors who could help finance this budget and manages the campaign with only these resources.
By Dec. 31, she had raised about $150,000, which still significantly trailed Washington but was about equal to Lane’s pre-2016 contributions of $160,000. Since Jan. 1, Milne has reported total contributions of $5,350.
“That is all I expect I’ll need,” she said. “If I go on to the November election, I’ll be developing another budget the morning of June 8.”
Also, she emphasized her skepticism about campaign finance legislation. In general, she sees political contributions as a form of free speech and abridging it should be done carefully and thoughtfully.
Consequently, she has no interest in collecting more money than she needs. She does not desire to carry surplus contributions forward for another race, another year or another purpose. To her, that is another form of abusing the system.
If she were to need more money, Milne is confident she could raise it. And she also noted that with less than a month before the election, new contributions would not be secret since they have to be reported within 24 hours.
At this point in the campaign, Milne has outspent her opponents through the first four months of 2016. Her total expenses were $77,000, compared to $60,000 from Washington’s campaign and $46,000 from Lane’s.
They appear to be saving money for the final weeks. Washington has $166,000 in cash available to promote his election. Lane has about $120,000 and Milne trails both opponents with only $65,000 remaining available.
Lane had made a $25,000 personal loan to his campaign and has subsequently repaid $10,000 of it this quarter. Washington has loaned his campaign $4,000. Milne has not made a loan to her campaign.
Washington has received many more total contributions than either Lane or Milne, as his total amount demonstrates. But each candidate also appears to have support from different groups.
Washington has received two donations of more than $10,000 and two other gifts greater than $8,000. The largest single donor is LIUNA Local 777, which contributed $32,000, and is one of Riverside County’s larger bargaining units. Global Investments and Development, through various subsidiaries in Riverside County, has given more than $30,000. Rancon, a Temecula developer, also has provided more than $20,000 to Washington’s campaign.
As the incumbent, Washington has received contributions from groups with business with the county such as Albert A. Webb Associates and CR&R, the manager of the local transfer station, and Bellacap LLC.
Besides LIUNA Local 777, other union or labor groups giving to his campaign include the International Union of Operating Engineers ($2,500), Service Employees International Union Local 721 ($2,250) and Cal Fire Local 2881, which is Riverside County, ($1,000).
Milne’s support comes from a few very large donors. She has received five contributions greater than $20,000, including two from local vineyards — Ponte and Callaway — and the Hemet Community Medical Group.
Three land developers have given at least $25,000 and another two have donated $10,000 each.
Since Jan. 1, Michael Lumary of Home Energy Solutions has given nearly $25,000 to Lane. The Soboba Band of Luisena Indians gave $15,000 and CR&R and Global Investments have also contributed to his campaign.