Fundraising under full steam in Santa Clarita City Council race

Cameron Smyth News

Not all of them have officially filed to run for the Santa Clarita City Council in November, but four potential candidates have raised more than $112,000 total to occupy a seat to steer the city, according to records on file at City Hall on Thursday.

With $62,141.86 raised for his campaign since the beginning of the year, candidate Cameron Smyth far exceeds his competition.

“It’s just been very exciting to see the enthusiasm the campaign has generated,” said the former council member who left the office after he was elected to the state Legislature.

Smyth had a cash balance of $51,807.33 as of June 30, the end of the race’s first fundraising filing period that began Jan. 1. He has been collecting contributions online as well as holding fundraisers and campaigning with his family.

Two of the council’s five seats are up for grabs in November, and both incumbents – TimBen Boydston and Bob Kellar – have said they will seek re-election.

On June 30 Boydston showed a cash balance of $3,223.66 but had received just one contribution of $500 since Jan. 1.

“I think I’m right on track,” Boydston said.

He held one fundraiser since the latest reporting period and will continue to host fundraisers in the future, he said. Members of his campaign have been walking door to door as well.

“People are going to want to know what your record is and what you’ve done,” he said.

Kellar received many individual contributions between Jan. 1 and June 30 totaling $40,844. His cash balance was at $26,241.73.

The currently sitting mayor noted that his campaign strategy is a lot like the one used when he sought re-election in 2012. It consists of social media, advertising, fundraisering and meeting people in person.

“I feel very confident,” he said. “I am absolutely delighted (by) the amount of financing I have been able to receive with my campaign.”

Challenger Alan Ferdman raised $7,411.00 between Jan. 1 and June 30 and had a cash balance on hand of $8,973.00 on June 30.

Ferdman said he is doing slightly better in his campaign than he was the last time he ran, in 2014. Increased name recognition is paying off, he said.

“It’s going to take a lot more money this time,” he said of anticipated higher voter turnout due to the consolidated election.

Ferdman said he is releasing a series of short videos on his Facebook campaign page to tell potential voters why he is running and his position on some city issues.

Another candidate who has filed papers to run in the race, Sandra Nichols, had no funds to report.

Smyth – who spent six years in the state Legislature and has more experience in politics than the other candidates – said the race for City Council will be tougher this year than it was when he was first elected in 2000.

“Fundraising is kind of a necessary evil of politics,” Smyth said, adding it will be especially true this year because the City Council election is consolidated on the November ballot with state and national races.

This is the first year the council race hasn’t been held in April.

Supporters of the change in the election date hope it will draw more interest to the local race. By Smyth noted it also means candidates are competing for the same funding as those running in higher-profile races such as Congress, state Legislature and county supervisor, Smyth said.

“There’s going to be a large amount of political activity in Santa Clarita,” Smyth said. “It makes it more challenging to raise money and get the word out.”

Councilwoman Marsha McLean is apparently ready for tougher fundraising times.

She has already begun fundraising for the 2018 council race and received $2,450 in contributions between Jan. 1 and June 30. Her cash balance was $2,350.23 on June 30.

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