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Fundraising Heats Up In Race For Supervisor Dave Roberts’ Seat

San Diego County Supervisors (left to right) Ron Roberts, Dave Roberts and Bill Horn at 2014 State of the County Address.

The latest campaign finance disclosures from candidates running for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors suggest an increasingly competitive race for Dave Roberts as he seeks re-election in District 3.

Roberts, who was dogged last year by allegations he misused his office and mistreated employees, is the lone Democrat on the five-member board. He's being challenged by two Republicans, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar.

Sam Abed, 62, in his mayoral office at Escondido City Hall, Sept. 10, 2014.

Abed raised $155,522 in the second half of 2015, including nearly $80,000 transferred from his mayoral campaign fund. He also loaned his campaign $75,000.

Gaspar raised $105,884 in the same time period, while Roberts raised $72,780.

Of the three candidates, Roberts raised the most money in the full calendar year of 2015, with $275,470 (including a $75,000 loan from himself). Abed raised $252,037, including the mayoral campaign funds and $85,000 in loans from himself. Gaspar announced her candidacy in August, and all her fundraising took place in the last four months of the year.

District 3 includes parts of San Diego and coastal North County.

Megan Wood / inewsource

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar attends a council meeting, May 27, 2015.

The dip in fundraising by Roberts continued a trend that began last year after an abuse of power scandal surfaced in the spring. Three former staffers accused Roberts of, among other things, instructing county employees to run his personal errands and work on campaign tasks while on county time. Roberts denied all the accusations.

In September, the county agreed to pay $310,000 to settle the claims. Roberts' fellow supervisors said they did not believe all the claims against him, but said they were not sure a jury would see things the same way.

While Abed came first in fundraising for the last half of the year, Roberts and Gaspar both outspent him by a factor of more than seven to one. Roberts spent just under $39,500, while Gaspar spent just over $39,000. Abed spent $5,253.

Roberts' election in 2012 was seen as bucking the trend of Republicans maintaining a tight grip on the county government. He replaced Pam Slater-Price, a Republican. Abed is seen as the more conservative Republican challenger, while Gaspar is seen as more moderate.

Republican Supervisor Dianne Jacob raised $385,151 in all of 2015, while her challenger, Republican state Sen. Joel Anderson, raised $273,660. Jacob's District 2 covers East County.

Republican Supervisor Greg Cox, whose District 1 covers South County, is currently running unopposed. He raised $252,814.

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