Sheriff’s Race: Barnes Raises Three Times as Much as Harrington While Harrington Pursues Slate Strategy

[cross-posted from our partner site OCPolitical.com]

In the race to succeed retiring Sheriff Sandra Hutchens (R-Dana Point), campaign finance reports for 2017 filed last week show that Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) has raised three times as much as Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo) while Harrington has outspent Barnes.  Harrington has reserved 14 slates while Barnes has purchased 2 slates; however, Harrington has only placed deposits on 12 and still needs to finish paying for them.  The Harrington campaign is clearly hoping slates can overpower the near-incumbent strength ballot designation of “Orange County Undersheriff” that Barnes will wield.

In 2017, Barnes raised $233,595 while Harrington raised $70,903.  Harrington also loaned himself $140,000.  While OC Political is usually skeptical of loans since most candidates use them simply to inflate fundraising numbers, this is not the case here, as Harrington has already spent $17,900 of his loan, and if he does pay for his slates in full, he will have spent $101,965 of his loan to his campaign.

In 2017, Barnes spent $57,743 with an additional $18,125 in accrued bills, totaling $75,868.  Harrington spent $88,802, with an additional $84,065 in accrued bills, totaling $172,867.  Harrington paid $18,172 to slates and needs to pay another $83,015 in order to complete his slate payments.  Harrington shows $101,187 (59%) of his spending (including both paid expenditures and unpaid bills) on slates.

By the close of 2017, Harrington has spent more money on slates than he has raised, needing to dip into his own pocket if he wishes to hang on to all the slates.  Barnes ended 2017 with four times as much cash-on-hand as Harrington, once unpaid bills are accounted for.  Harrington’s spending, including both paid expenditures and unpaid bills, is 2.5 times what he has raised while Barnes’s spending is 1/3 of what he has raised.

How much more is Harrington willing to self-fund in his battle against Barnes?  Barnes’s Undersheriff designation is worth a lot more than $101,187, so slates alone will not carry the day for Harrington.  Harrington will need to either step up his fundraising or dig even deeper into his own pocket to be competitive.

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