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San Diego Chamber Backs Gaspar In County Supervisor Race

Photo caption: Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, left, San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts and ...

Photo by Alison St John

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, left, San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts and Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar at a candidates' forum for the Board of Supervisors District 3 seat, April 21, 2016.

San Diego’s Regional Chamber of Commerce has invested more than $100,000 to support Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar in her quest for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

San Diego’s Regional Chamber of Commerce has invested more than $100,000 to support Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, a Republican, in her quest to unseat incumbent Democrat Dave Roberts from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

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Gaspar is a relative newcomer to political office compared to Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, a Republican who is also challenging Roberts. Gaspar has served on the Encinitas City Council in 2010 and was elected mayor in 2014. Abed has werved on the Escondido City Council since 2004, and was elected mayor in 2010 and again in 2014.

The chamber's endorsement of Gaspar is an important one because Abed has already been endorsed by the San Diego County Republican Party. He has received the maximum contribution allowed from a political party in a county race: $25,000.

According to the most recent campaign finance statements filed last week, Abed has $249,000 cash on hand, while Gaspar had $152,000.

A late filing to the independent expenditure committee, Citizens for Fair & Honest Leadership Supporting Kristin Gaspar, shows the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce has added $75,000 more to its earlier contribution of $30,000.

Photo by Susana Tsutsumi

San Diego County Board of Supervisors District 3 includes Encinitas, Escondido, Del Mar, Solana Beach and the San Diego communities of Mira Mesa, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Scripps Ranch, Tierrasanta and Sabre Springs.

That, combined with another contribution of $10,000 from Job Creators for a Strong Economy and the money raised by Gaspar’s own campaign, means the dollars available to educate voters about Gaspar outnumber the amount available to support Abed.

About 300,000 registered voters live in District 3, which spreads from Torrey Pines in the southwest to Escondido in the northeast. The top two vote-getters in the June 7 election will go on to the November election, regardless of party affiliation.

Political consultant Tom Shepard estimated it would cost about $35,000 to send one mailer to the 70,000 likely voters in the district. Shepard estimated candidates would need half a million dollars to make it through the June election and also win in November.

Roberts raised almost exactly the same amount of money as Gaspar in the last filing period from January: $77,000. He has also spent virtually the same amount, about $52,000. Abed raised $85,000 and has spent $70,000.

Each campaign also has resources from earlier fundraising.

Attendance at public forums with the candidates has been low, but significant differences have emerged in the candidates' positions on the issues.

Incumbents usually benefit from financial accumulations over their time in office and typically build powerful war chests to fend off challengers. Supervisor Dianne Jacob, for example, who is running for her seventh term to represent East County on the board, has nearly $600,000 in campaign donations. She is running unopposed, though earlier in the year state Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Santee, had announced he would challenge Jacob.

Roberts has had to defend himself from charges of office mismanagement and abuse of power during his first term, and has $208,000 cash on hand.

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