Boosted by a strong fundraising month and loans to their own campaigns, author Julia Lythcott-Haims and planning commissioner Doria Summa are heading into the final stretch of their City Council campaigns with the most cash on hand.
The latest campaign finance statements show money rolling into the Palo Alto City Council race, with six of the seven candidates raising more than $40,000 each. The seven candidates — Alex Comsa, Lythcott-Haims, Brian Hamachek, Lisa Forssell, Ed Lauing, Summa and Vicki Veenker — are running for three seats that will open up at the end of this year.
Lythcott-Haims had the strongest month, having raised $20,184 between Sept. 25 and Oct. 22, according to documents that were due Thursday. She also loaned $7,000 to her campaign, bringing her overall contributions to $89,745, which is leading the field.
Former council member Larry Klein recently contributed $500, raising his overall contributions to her campaign to $1,518. Resident Deborah Goldeen gave $500, while Nanci Kauffman, head of Castilleja School, donated $259.92. Other recent donations include $999 from Smita Singh, accounting manager at The Sobrato Organization, $500 from local resident Jon Mewes and $519.52 from Mary Jane Marcus, social worker at Catholic Charities.
Summa, a member of the Planning and Transportation Commission, was just behind Lythcott-Haims in fundraising, having received $20,041 in contributions over the last reporting period and $45,321 overall. When combined with the $30,000 loan that she gave to her own campaign and the $395 she received in nonmonetary contributions, she ended the month with $75,715 in total contributions received.
Her top contributor is retired venture capitalist G. Leonard Baker, who gave her $4,900. The 2018 campaign of council member Tom DuBois, gave another $3,000 to Summa's campaign. She also received $999 from Helyn MacLean, who like Baker had contributed heavily in the past to candidates who support slow-growth policies, and $500 from Keith Reckdahl, her colleague on the Planning and Transportation Commission. Jeanne Fleming, a leading advocate for limiting installations of cellphone antennas in residential neighborhoods, gave a total of $1,515 to Summa, while Jeff Hoel, a proponent of expanding the city's fiber network, gave $1,000.
Veenker, a mediator and attorney, raised $5,800 in the most recent period, raising her overall campaign contributions to $50,997. Former Mayor Liz Kniss contributed $500 to her campaign, as did Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN), an organization that supports the election of progressive women. Council member Eric Filseth, who has tended to be on the opposite side of Kniss during major land-use votes, contributed $250, while Hamachek, who is also running for a council seat, donated $100.
Lauing, who chairs the Planning and Transportation Commission, also received a $3,000 check from the campaign of DuBois, who is terming out this year, bringing his overall contributions to $47,069. He also reported a strong fundraising month, with $16,547 received between Sept. 25 and Oct. 22.
Lauing's major donors include G. Leonard Baker and Mary Anne Baker, who have each contributed $4,900 to his campaign to date. They also include a $500 contribution from Jeanne Fleming (bringing her overall donations to Lauing's campaign to $1,000), $500 from Reckdahl, $500 from architect Rob Steinberg, $500 from resident Megan Barton and another $500 from resident Peter Rosenthal.
Forssell, who serves on the Utilities Advisory Commission, received $6,382 between Sept. 25 and Oct. 22, bringing her total contributions to date to $44,335. Her top contributors in the recent period include Palo Alto residents Monika Bjorkman, who gave $1,000, Ellen Krasnow, who gave $500, and Michael Kieschnick, who also gave $500. She also received $100 from Menlo Park Vice Mayor Jen Wolosin.
Realtor Alex Comsa reported $42,525 in total contributions, though most of that money is a loan from himself to his campaign. According to the campaign finance documents, he has loaned $38,900 to his campaign to date, including $36,000 in the latest reporting period. He did receive a $750 contributions from local companies Jing Jing Gourmet and Good Home Investment, as well as $250 from stock trader Nadeem Zureigat.
Brian Hamachek, a software engineer, is the only one running a relatedly low-budget campaign. His last disclosure, which he filed on Oct. 3, shows him with $1,920 in cash on hand.
The seven candidates are running for the seats currently occupied by DuBois, Filseth and Alison Cormack. DuBois and Filseth are both terming out after eight years of service while Cormack is concluding her first four-year term and has opted not to run for reelection.