Forecasting Sacramento's city council races, plus a look at campaign donations


City of Sacramento updated its campaign-finance-report filings recently. Let’s take a peek.

First stop, District 3, which includes East Sacramento, south Natomas and downtown’s the River District.

Only two of the seven candidates raised more than $10,000 between March 18 and May 17 (Shah and Ellen Cochrane, the former raising $48,830 and the latter $15,961). Candidate Rosalyn van Buren reported taking in a mere $100. 

Shah, in fact, raised more than every other District 3 candidate combined.

I wrote a story for the upcoming SN&R about lawn signs: Whether they make an impact, how much they cost, etc. They’re not cheap; Shah spent more than $5,000 on “campaign paraphernalia,: including signs, during the last fiiling period (it’s worth noting that he spent this money locally).

Over in District 5, city council candidates raised a lot and are neck-in-neck: Incumbent Councilman Jay Schenirer took in $33,249 and challenger Ali Cooper $26,849. Schenirer has other channels of influence, however, and has also garnered most local endorsements. He should win next Tuesday, June 3, with a solid majority—but in a projected low-turnout election, it will be interesting to see how many votes Cooper brings.

In District 7, Jennings raked in $65,337 and Cherry $42,555. That’s a ton of coin for a forgotten district.

Again, my story this week is on lawn signs, where Cherry leads the charge, spending a little more than $6,500 on “campaign paraphernalia.” He printed his signs locally, just like Shah, while Jennings, Schenirer and Cooper printed theirs with Bay Area companies.

Donors paying for these signs, and more, are a mix of the usual suspects and a few new players.

Shah in District 3 has accepted money from givers including AT&T and the Building Industry Association’s PACs, various union groups, Region Builders and McKinley Village landowner Angelo Tsakopoulos.

In District 5, Cooper is funded primary by large AFL-CIO union donations, plus money for the Los Rios Community College teachers PAC and anti-arena group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork. 

Schenirer has accepted money from the plumbers, pipefitters, electrical and sheet-metal-worker unions, plus Region Builders, the BIA, AT&T, local firefighters, and more.

Cherry in District 7 has most of the union, teachers’ and firefighters’ money, while Jennings received funding from the police and sheriffs; credit unions; AT&T; the BIA and other developers; Sacramento Kings owners and developers Mark Friedman and Phil Oates; and Sierra Health Foundation CEO Chet Hewitt.

An oddity: Councilman Allen Warren is the only sitting elected official to give to multiple candidates: $500 to Jennings and $250 to his opponent Cherry. He has endorsed Jennings.

Oh yeah, the winners: 

District 3: Shah and Jeff Harris should run-off in November—but Cochrane could sneak in.

District 5: Schenirer should take this.

District 7: It’s starting to feel like Jennings might win this outright next week. I can’t see dark horse third candidate Abe Snobar corraling many votes. Plus, the dark-money group that spent more than $40,000 on Cherry attack mailers has been effective. And don’t underestimate Jennings: He has broad support and a lot of cache in the community.

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