Montgomery takes strong lead in District 5 Placer supes funding race

But challengers say money waiting on sidelines if election goes to runoff
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - The big question in the District 5 Placer County Board of Supervisors election is whether incumbent Jennifer Montgomery has garnered the political clout and voter support to prevent a runoff. And while Montgomery is well ahead of the four challengers ? Jerry Johnson, Richard Johnson, Gary Johnson and Mark Wright ? in campaign fund-raising, her opponents are expressing a mixture of hope and confidence that at least one of them will be on the 5th District ballot for a run-off in November. Montgomery wasn?t available Friday to comment on the June 5 election. But the four challengers provided their views on the funding race as well as their own efforts to capture voter attention: Jerry Johnson District 5 candidate Jerry Johnson of Meadow Vista has raised $3,950 in outside campaign donations from individuals, business people and contractors since January. To counter the higher donation levels of front-runner Montgomery, he previously loaned the campaign $20,000. In this donation cycle, between March 17 and this past May 19, Johnson said he loaned the campaign another $10,000 ?to keep it going.? At the same time, his campaign finance statement shows expenditures of $23,225. ?I read in the Journal this morning that 41 percent of Placer County homeowners are upside down,? Johnson said. ?That makes it difficult to raise money for campaigns. I?m serious about the election and I think I had to put money of my own in to show had some skin in the game.? Johnson said he believes there will be a runoff. If he?s one of the two top voters that would go forward to the November election, he said that he would expect higher donation totals from people standing on the sidelines waiting for the smoke to clear. ?A lot of people have told me they would wait until after June 5 to make commitments and endorsements,? Johnson said. Richard Johnson Auburn?s Richard Johnson indicated satisfaction with his own donation levels. ?I think they?re fine,? Johnson said. ?I started late and filed on last day we could file so I didn?t have a lot of time to build up a treasure chest. I have had a pretty steady flow of donations coming in, mostly from the Auburn-Foresthill area.? Johnson said the majority of donations have been for less than $100. He declined to comment on the donation levels or types of donations made to other candidates in the five-person race. ?I?m really not talking too much about the other candidates,? Johnson said. ?I haven?t been paying too close attention. My funding probably is not as big as others but that?s fine. We?ve been running a grass-roots campaign, knocking on doors and saying ?Hi.?? Johnson added that the campaign has been putting out written materials but that that it has been selective. ?We?re not blanketing the district to say who Rich Johnson is,? Johnson said. Mark Wright Mark Wright of Colfax said he would like funding levels to be greater than they are. ?But I haven?t been doing fundraisers, either,? Wright said. Instead, Wright said he has been making phone calls, walking precincts and sending out e-mails to voters who have registered their addresses with Placer County elections division. ?Because I know how, I?m doing things on the computer,? Wright said. ?I have my Web page and Facebook page and have had people call me from the Tahoe region and talk to me.? Wright describes his campaign as a grass-roots effort that emphasizes one-on-one contact with voters and selective appearances. ?I?ve gone to the Auburn Chamber of Commerce forum and I?m going to the Tea Party group,? Wright said. ?And I?ve spoke to the Federated Republican Women?s group in Truckee.? Gary Johnson Gary Johnson, also of Colfax, said he?s keeping his campaign ?grass roots,? with donations under the reporting threshold of $1,000. That means making his own fliers and passing them out to people. ?They seem to be receptive,? Johnson said. ?It?s nice to have signs and campaign literature but I?m just not interested in asking for money.? Johnson said he?s cognizant that other candidates have asked for and received donations from outside the district and county. ?But I feel it?s not right to solicit money from Sacramento or the Bay Area,? Johnson said. A two-term Placer Hills Union School District board members who also served two terms on a school board in Sonoma County, Johnson said he?s been successful in past election by talking to people. ?It worked for me,? he said. ?It may not work for other people.? Johnson said he?s confident the election will go to a runoff and if he?s one of the two candidates, he would consider doing mailings but would forego signs. Money count Quarterly campaign funding reports were filed with the Placer County elections division for the period March 18 to May 19 period. Here are the totals raised by the candidates, according to those reports: - Jennifer Montgomery raised $37,077 and spent $23,394, leaving her campaign with an end balance of $48,054. Large donors were: Steven Merrill (general partner Merco Ventures Investment Advisors of San Francisco, $2,500); Powers Mansion Inn of Auburn (10 one-night stays valued at $1,500); Skyridge Courtyard in Auburn (donated office space, $2,250); United Auburn Indian Community ($1,000), United Domestic Workers of America in San Diego ($1,500). - Jerry Johnson raised $3,950, spent $22,185, and had an end balance of $10,725. He loaned his campaign $20,000. Large donors were: Tom and Peggy Dwelle (of Auburn Flyers LLC, $1,000); Associated Builders and Contractors of Northern California ($500), Sacramento Builders Exchange PAC ($1,500), Haldeman Homes of Auburn ($500), Thomas Beattie, retired ($250). - Rich Johnson raised $6,656, loaned his campaign $1,500, spent $5,100 and had a balance of $2,556. Large donors were: Tom Dwelle (partner-owner of Flyer Energy ($1,000), Michael Nickey, retired, of Auburn ($400), Larry Jordan, Fueload Management Services of Foresthill ($280 worth of yard signs), Harriet White of Auburn ($100), Ralph Roper, retired, of Auburn ($100). - Mark Wright reported $100 in contributions and a balance of $526. - Gary Johnson said he will be keeping his campaign below the $1,000 reportable threshold.