LATHROP – A $21,000 fine from the state’s campaign watchdog would be a death blow to most small-town political campaigns.
But according to campaign disclosure statements that were submitted to the Lathrop City Clerk on Monday, Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal has raised twice that much this year alone in his bid for another two years as mayor – raising more than eight times more than his challenger and more than every other candidate In the Lathrop political field combined.
And it’s a big field. Seven people are currently vying for the two available city council seats while Dhaliwal tangles with challenger Rosalinda Valencia to see who will bang the gavel for the next two years as Lathrop’s top elected official.
Based on the filing, Dhaliwal has raised $42,402 and only spent just a few cents over $8,695. He carried over his campaign signage from his previous campaign – valued at $4,000 – and threw a $2,000 fundraiser at Royal Indian Cuisine. If elected, he would be entering his second term as mayor after vacating his position as a councilman mid-term. He had served a full four-year term prior to that.
Valencia has raised just $5,600 to date. The majority of that amount – $4,500 – has come from a restaurateur from Tracy because Valencia said that she doesn’t want to take any money from local residents, and she has spent the bulk of it on campaign signs ($4,139.20) as well as double-sided color fliers that she distributed to residents ($100).
Not every candidate is breaking the bank, or asking for financial assistance, to try and get elected.
Councilman Paul Akinjo, who has spent the last two years serving out the remainder of Dhaliwal’s council term after being the next leading vote-getter in the 2012 election, is actually $2,501 in the hole after his $2,750 expenditure, paid for by himself, clashed with the $249 in contributions he has received.
Of the remaining candidates, Councilman Omar Ornelas, Brent Maynor, Connie Lum-Perez, Christopher Mateo and Frank Cavaco have all filed FPPC 470 forms, which apply to candidates that do not a formal committee, receive more than $1,000 over the course of a calendar year or spend the same amount during the same time frame. Debbie Rock, who is also officially a candidate, has not yet filed any paperwork pertaining to her campaign filing status.
Funding disclosures are not required if they do not meet those prerequisites.