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KPBS Midday Edition

DA Campaign Spending Kicks Into High Gear As June Primary Nears

A photo illustration of the inewsource San Diego County campaign finance database launched on April 19, 2018.
Brandon Quester
A photo illustration of the inewsource San Diego County campaign finance database launched on April 19, 2018.
DA Campaign Spending Kicks Into High Gear As June Primary Near
DA Campaign Spending Kicks Into High Gear As June Primary Nears GUEST: Jill Castellano, investigative data reporter, inewsource

This is KPBS Midday Edition I am Michael Lipkin in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Campaign spending in the race for San Diego's district attorneys kicking into high gear. Last week's all records spending from a political group supporting Vivian Jones right and more is expected before the primary. Joe Castellano at our partner I Newsource has been tracking campaign spending in that race in nearly a dozen others. Welcome Jill. The campaign for DA has gotten a lot of attention this week. Billionaire George Soros donated a lot of money to support Genevieve Jones right the Democrat who is challenging interim DA summer staff in the republican. How much does Soros give. >> As of last week, he spent $400,000 on Genevieve Jones right and as of a couple of days ago he spent another $200,000. How this is working is that there is a pack that he is donating a lot of money to since January he has given over $1.8 million to that pack he is the only person donating to that pack it is called California justice and public safety. That pack spends a lot of money on the race to support Jones right. They are not donating money to her campaign. There spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV airtime, mailings, digital advertising, all these things that they think will help get her elected. >>> Wise a wealthy New Yorker giving money to a local DA race and send Eagle County. >>> George Soros at 87-year-old Hungarian hedge fund manager worth more than $1 billion, he is a philanthropist. Since 2015 he has gotten himself involved in these local races. For example, last year, he spent more than $1.5 million to support a civil rights lawyer in Philadelphia for this role of district attorney. Ended up winning in a landslide. He is known for supporting local district attorney candidates who call themselves progressive, criminal justice reform advocates, all around the country and away we have never really seen before. We have seen this kind of spending outside spending on a national level in Senate races and things like that. We don't really normally see this on the local level. >>> When you compare with the candidates themselves have raised, and you take a look at all the money coming in from outside groups to these candidates and including the George Soros pack, how do they compare the funding for Genevieve Jones right and summer Stefan. >> The answer to that question will continue to change depending on the day. The money is flowing and so quickly every day, I am checking. There is another 30,000 here hundred thousand here for each candidate on either side. For one thing, I can say that Jones right told her on her campaign has gotten about $200,000 raise so far compare to interim DA summer Stefan who has about $485,000. She is definitely in her own personal campaign's bank account has more money. But there is so much outside spending that is kind of back-and-forth who is taking the lead on the spending. At the pains on what do you ask a kid we know that Stefan is gotten a lot of support over $220,000 from the deputy district attorney Association which has gone all hands and to support her in this race against Jones right. Struck at the other race for the this year is the sheriff. What Fundraising have we seen for that also law enforcement. >> It is interesting in that it has comparisons. You have more conservative sheriff already in place right now. Bill Gore who has raised $66,000. Have a challenger who is more liberal kind of a reformed candidate you can call him Dave Myers who has raised $61,000 in January. They are close and how much money they are bringing in right now. Sheriff Bill Gore has more money in the bank. He definitely has a ton of support from all of these law enforcement agencies across the county that are funding his campaign. >>> When you're looking at these races, what you hope to learn from his campaign finance details. Three one thing you can learn is that races are competitive. You can see that the A's race this year is competitive because it is raising a lot more money you typically see Historically. You can see the kinds of strategies the campaigns are using. You can see the fact that for a while in the DAs race, there were no immediate bias, no television ads. Suddenly, right when the early voting began a couple of days ago, we saw it ton of media buys going. To see the strategy of the campaigns. They recognize that people of looking at their ballots and thinking of who they are going to vote for. They should probably be on air, their name should probably be out there so that when they're in the voting booth they will pick a candidate that pack would prefer. >>> I have been speaking with a reporter Jill cast the mallow on our partner Eye News Source. You can view all of our election coverage on KPBS.org/election.

A political action campaign supporting San Diego County district attorney candidate Geneviéve Jones-Wright spent more than $400,000 last week on TV commercials, mailers and digital ads to support the Democrat. That is about twice as much as what another PAC spent to back interim DA and Republican Summer Stephan.

The California Justice & Public Safety PAC in favor of Jones-Wright is funded by George Soros a billionaire who lives in New York. Soros has pledged $1.5 million to the political group to support Jones-Wright and other progressive district attorney candidates in California. So far $600,000 of that money has been spent on Jones-Wright.

Jill Castellano, investigative data reporter for KPBS's media partner inewsource, wrote the money spent on Jones-Wright's campaign is the most spent on this race so far and even more is expected before the June 5 primary. Castellano has been tracking fundraising and expenditures in the races for San Diego's City Council, county supervisor, sheriff, district attorney and the 49th and 50th Congressional Districts. inewsource has also created a searchable database for county campaign contributions.

Castellano joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with the latest on campaign spending in San Diego.