Santa Clara Valley Water District Board incumbent Gary Kremen and challenger Rebecca Eisenberg have attracted two divergent streams of donor funds, one relying on unions and the other attracting more residents in the northern end of Santa Clara County.
But both candidates for the District 7 board seat, which includes Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and southern parts of San Jose, are attracting their largest donations in the thousands of dollars from outside the county. Those contributors include friends, tech sector contacts and, in Kremen's case, political action committees.
Kremen leads the way in campaign funding with $289,811 for the year to date, Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) filings show.
While he has four times the cash compared to Eisenberg, she has raised more than 1 1/2 times the amount from individual donors — $41,889 to his $26,317 — once their personal loans to their campaigns and rollover funding (from his campaign for county assessor) are subtracted from the equation.
Kremen's massive pot of money was largely infused by $101,000 in loans he made to his campaign and $162,440 transferred from his bid for county assessor, which was aborted earlier this year.
He received $16,997 during the period from Sept. 25 through Oct. 22, his latest FPPC filings show. To date, he has expended $125,454 and has a cash balance of $164,356.
Eisenberg, an attorney and sustainability investor, lagged behind Kremen during the prior period with $27,978 to his $272,814 — 10 times less — from Jan. 1 through Sept. 24. She has gained some traction in the current period through Oct. 22, reducing the massive funding discrepancy to four times less than Kremen, with a total of $70,617 for the year to date. She has lent her campaign $30,000, according to her FPPC filing.
Eisenberg raised $41,889 in total from Sept. 25 to Oct. 22, including $3,100 in nonmonetary contributions. She has spent $21,026 to date and has $49,590 in ending cash.
The two candidates differ not only in the quantity of cash they have to flex their campaign muscle, but also in who donates to their causes.
Half of Eisenberg's 59 donors during the recent filing period are from Palo Alto, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Most were for sums between $100 and $500.
Kremen, in contrast, received three out of 17 contributions in the current period from contributors from the northern section of the county. Smaller donations came largely from people he knows from out of state, a handful of residents who live in the county's southern end and Valley Water staff members. His notable Midpeninsula donor is Mountain View City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga, who contributed $250.
Kremen's top donors were unions and political action committees, including $5,000 from the Santa Clara and San Benito Building and Construction Trades Council PAC; $3,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and $2,000 from the Laborers Local 270 PAC. He also received $1,000 donations each from the Plumbers and Steamfitters and Refrigeration Fitters; Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3; Bonneau Dickson, a construction sanitary engineer from Berkeley; and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council.
Eisenberg, too, received multiple large contributions. Her principal donors include Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, $3,000; Yishan Wang of Hawaii, CEO of Terraformation, $4,900; Reid Hoffman, venture capitalist at Greylock Partners and a Washington state resident, $4,950; Kevin Hart a partner at A Star Capital of San Francisco, $2,500; and Palo Alto resident Todd Glasson, CEO of InvestorFlow, who donated $1,000.