San Diego mayoral candidate Barbara Bry more than doubled rival Todd Gloria’s recent campaign donations, a notable margin that Bry’s campaign is calling a significant momentum shift.
Gloria’s campaign officials note that much of Bry’s campaign haul was contributed by the candidate herself, and the Assemblyman still has more cash on hand than Bry, a City Councilwoman.
Bry raised $642,000 between Feb. 16 and June 30, while Gloria raised $289,000 during the same period. Bry contributed $110,000 of the money, and she still has $81,000 less cash available than Gloria — $343,000 versus $424,000.
Meanwhile, fundraising results were mixed in two Republican-versus-Democrat council races that will determine the strength of the Democratic majority on the council.
In north inland District 5, Democrat Marni von Wilpert outraised Republican Joe Leventhal $108,000 to $87,000 between Feb. 16 and June 30. But Leventhal has $152,000 in his campaign war chest, while von Wilpert has $108,000.
In central inland District 7, Republican Noli Zosa outraised Democrat Raul Campillo $116,000 to $39,000. Zosa has $95,000 in his war chest, while Campillo has $44,000.
The two races will determine whether Democrats can increase their six-vote majority on the nine-member council to either 7-2 or possibly even 8-1.
Campillo beat Zosa by more than 2,200 votes in the March primary, while von Wilpert beat Leventhal by more than 1,300 votes.
In two other council runoffs that each feature two Democrats, first-place finishers in the March primary have dominated recent fund raising.
In central urban District 3, Stephen Whitburn outraised Toni Duran $61,000 to $16,000. Whitburn has $55,000 in his war chest, while Duran has $18,000.
In southeastern District 9, Kelvin Berrios outraised Sean Elo $47,000 to $23,000. Berrios has $45,000 in his war chest, compared to just under $10,000 for Elo.
Whitburn finished more than 4,000 votes ahead of Duran in March, while Berrios finished more than 2,600 votes ahead of Elo.
Fundraising was much closer in a fifth council runoff between two Democrats. In north coastal District 1, Joe LaCava outraised Will Moore $79,000 to $65,000, but Moore has a larger war chest — $57,000 versus $48,000.
LaCava finished nearly 3,300 votes ahead of Moore in the March primary.
In the runoff for city attorney, incumbent Mara Elliott outraised rival Cory Briggs $83,000 to $4,600. Elliott has $132,000 in her war chest, compared to $2,800 for Briggs.
Elliott dominated Briggs in the primary, receiving 209,000 votes compared to 72,000.
In the mayoral runoff, Bry’s campaign says her fundraising results show a remarkable shift in momentum in the race, where Gloria took first place in the March primary by more than 66,000 votes.
Those results come despite significant hurdles, including Bry being unsure she had secured second place in the primary until the county registrar of voters slowly counted thousands of remaining ballots throughout March.
“Keep in mind that Barbara’s campaign couldn’t begin raising funds for the general election until early April because we didn’t know if Barbara had qualified for the runoff,” Bry consultant Tom Shepard said Monday in an email to supporters.
Gloria consultant Jen Tierney said the campaign disclosures show the candidates raised roughly the same amount in March.
“This idea that Todd was beating the bushes in March is just not true,” Tierney said.
Shepard also notes that Gloria was socking away money for the runoff early this year after a variety of polls showed he was essentially guaranteed a spot in the runoff.
“Consider our opponent’s advantage as the front-runner, already aggressively soliciting funds for the runoff during the primary, confident he would qualify for the November general election,” Shepard said.
Tierney agreed that Bry’s fundraising results show she is a viable candidate, but she contended Bry’s campaign has been primarily responsible for the underdog narrative in the race.
“She’s tried to play herself as the underdog all along, but she’s always been wealthy, she’s always been in office and she’s always been a good fundraiser,” Tierney said.
In addition to serving on the council since 2016, Bry is a longtime high tech entrepreneur.
Shepard said Gloria’s relatively weak donation total could “reflect his lack of local community support.”
In response, Tierney noted that roughly $250,000 of Bry’s donations come from her neighbors in La Jolla. Tierney said a careful look at Bry’s donations shows she is receiving a significant amount of support from Republicans in her Democrat-versus-Democrat battle against Gloria.
“I think Barbara has become the de facto Republican in this race,” Tierney said. “That’s the lane she’s moved into. She’s moved to the right and there is money on the right.”
Shepard said by phone that Bry has received “many, many, many contributions from Democrats and independent voters.”
He also said Gloria is appealing to a small section of the electorate, while Bry is trying to appeal to the whole city, which he contended should be a priority for a mayoral candidate.
Gloria has been endorsed by the county Democratic Party and most of the region’s labor unions.
Shepard said further evidence of momentum for Bry is a recent poll by the conservative Lincoln Club showing the runoff is essentially a toss-up.
Tierney said a separate poll commissioned by Gloria’s campaign shows him with a 15-point lead.
Voting in all seven city runoffs is scheduled for Nov. 3.