Campaign spending strong in Encinitas races

Encinitas Councilwoman Catherine Blakespear has out-raised and out-spent her opponent Paul Gaspar in the race to become the city’s next Mayor, despite three of the four political action organizations active in the Mayoral campaign working on behalf of her opponent.

Blakespear’s campaign had raised $56,670 and spent $32,064 by Oct. 22 — the final date covered by the last round campaign finance forms due before the Nov. 8 election. Blakespear, who’s two years into her first term as a councilwoman, went into the final weeks before the election with more than $24,000 in available cash on hand, her forms indicate.

Gaspar, a physical therapy business owner whose wife Kristin Gaspar is the city’s current Mayor, had raised $40,2015 and spent $27,625 over the course of his campaign, his financial forms indicate.

Nearly all of Blakespear’s campaign contributions came from Encinitas residents, who typically gave her $100 to $250 donations. Gaspar’s donation amounts were similar, but his donors included many people who live outside the city and work in medical services or have other connections to his physical therapy business.

The two candidates also differed when it came to the loans they gave their campaigns. Blakespear loaned her campaign a total of $6,700, early in the year. Gaspar donated $10,000 to his campaign during the latest period covered by the financial forms and gave $9,225 earlier in the year, for a total of nearly $20,000 — about half his total campaign money.

In addition to candidate spending, there are four political action groups actively supporting candidates in the Encinitas Mayoral and Council races this year. Two of them — the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego County and the North County Leadership Council — have bought advertising that supports Gaspar. The third organization — the Public Safety Advocates — is paying for advertising that opposes Blakespear and Councilman Tony Kranz.

The Leadership Council, which recently received donations from medical professionals, reported spending just under $5,500 on its efforts to elect Gaspar, Muir and Council candidate Phil Graham. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego County reported spending $1,804 on its efforts to elect Gaspar, Muir and Council candidate Tony Brandenburg. The Public Safety Advocates, whose recent contributors represent real estate interests, spent $4,350 on mailers opposing Blakespear and Kranz.

The final organization — the Encinitas Firefighters Association — is backing Blakespear. On their forms, the firefighters indicated that they had spent just under $2,300 by Oct. 22 on their efforts to elect Blakespear as well Kranz and Councilman Mark Muir, a retired city fire chief.

There are five candidates seeking three Council seats in November — Brandenburg, Graham, Kranz, Muir and Tasha Boerner Horvath. As of Oct. 22, Graham had raised $41,836, and spent $40,514; Muir had raised $31,661 and spent $12,638; Boerner Horvath had raised $28,020 and spent $23,058; Kranz had raised $24,686 and spent $13,615; and Brandenburg had raised $14,743 and spent $14,348.

— Barbara Henry writes for The San Diego Union-Tribune