April 4, 2012
With 877 ballots already filed by mail—representing fully a third of the registered voters in Carmel-by-the-Sea—the two mayoral candidates and four city council candidates face less of a frenetic week in their campaigns than, say, Mitt Romney.
But the advertisements and post office greetings continue in a final push up to the April 10 election as the candidates run through the rest of their campaign cash—no small sums for a one-square-mile town.
The election itself, which doesn't coincide with any other county elections (in keeping with Carmel's intentional off-the-beaten-path charm), is estimated to cost $26,000 this year, under contract with Orange County-based consultants Martin & Chapman.
Mayoral candidate and City Councilman Jason Burnett outspent all the candidates as of March 24, according to the most recent city reports, having spent $20,000 on the campaign. He raised nearly $14,000 this year, mostly in small contributions of $100 or $250 from Carmel residents. His campaign also received $500 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee based in L.A.
Burnett faces off with restaurateur Rich Pepe, who's raised $8,500. His contributions come from residents of Carmel and Pebble Beach and Monterey, as well as a $630 gift from a Hilton Head, S.C., businessman.
If Burnett wins retiring Mayor Sue McCloud's seat, the newly appointed council will choose to either hold a special election or appoint someone to fill his council vacancy.
City Council incumbent Ken Talmage was leading the fundraising effort among the four council candidates—top two vote-getters take the two open seats. He's raised nearly $14,000, a hair ahead of Burnett, and spent $13,000. He's collected mostly small contributions of $100 or $250.
Planning Commissioner and architect Victoria Beach follows with her nearly $11,000 campaign, in her first-ever run for public office. Her contributors are mostly Carmel retirees who gave in the range of $100-300, including an individual $200 contribution from Barbara Livingston, who is president of the Carmel Residents Association.
Bob Profeta, a retired nuclear power plant engineer and co-owner of Alain Pinel Realtors, has spent about half of what Beach has, and has pulled in a little over $7,000 in contributions. He also claims the single highest gift in the 2012 election year, $1,000 from Rick Antle of Tanimura & Antle and a Carmel resident. Other gifts include $500 from a Seaside who owns Jaguar of Monterey.
Forest and Beach Commissioner Tom Leverone, a semi-retired physician who specializes in pain treatment, trailed in fundraising as of March 24, with about $6,000 raised. He also brought in mostly $100 contributions from Carmel residents, a $400 gift from a Carmel jet broker, and $500 from the California Real Estate PAC.
Regardless of who outspent who, or who wins and loses, Carmel is planning an egalitarian celebration this year—no victory parties, no disconsolate concession gatherings—all six candidates have agreed to a potluck at Sunset Center.