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$53,000 spent on Lathrops mayoral race
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It could end up being the most costly Lathrop Mayor’s race in the city’s brief history. 

And it wasn’t even close. 

Hamstrung by a California Fair Political Practices Commission ruling that put him in a $21,000 hole even before he decided to seek another term as mayor, Sonny Dhaliwal amassed nearly 71 percent of Lathrop’s mayoral vote in a contest that was a landslide the moment the first returns started to trickle in on election night. 

But it wasn’t a cheap victory. 

The steep penalty combined with the knock-down, drag-out fighting style of his opponent, Rosalinda Valencia – who was backed by Dhaliwal’s detractors and had the aid of anonymous campaign fliers that were scathing in their indictment of the longtime political servant that upended a local hero in Joseph “Chaka” Santos to take the city’s political spot two years ago – led to a fundraising push that ended a few dollars shy of $43,000. 

When combined with the $10,401 that Valencia raised – some of which went to her anti-corruption signs that were featured prominently around town – the total amount was rivaled those of neighboring cities with much larger populations. 

And if you take out the fine that Dhaliwal’s campaign – not him specifically – had to pay for campaign accounting irregularities stemming from his 2010 run for city council, he only outraised Valencia by a margin of two-to-one despite pushing in on three-quarters of all of the mayoral votes cast. 

According to Dhaliwal’s final campaign statement, he spent just under $30,000 to secure another two years at the helm, and no one person bankrolled his campaign – receiving money in chunks from donors throughout San Joaquin County at a fundraiser as well as from local business owners that supported his vision for the community. 

Once the election is certified, Dhaliwal will join fellow incumbents Paul Akinjo and Omar Ornelas – both of whom are currently standing to get elected for the first time this election because of crazy political happenings over the course of the last two general elections – to focus on the business of the community.