Ever wonder if there’s one place where you can see how the fundraising picture looks in the Oakland elections? In other words, how much money each candidate for office in Oakland has raised? Well, the answer is there’s not just one place, there are two places: the City of Oakland Elections Webpage (which has been demphasized for a less-helpful page) and the website of the group called “Open Disclosure Oakland.”
Of the two, “Open Disclosure Oakland” is the easiest to use because it puts all of the information you’re looking for in an “at-a-glance” format. Rather than just have you click on a link to see the presentation, I used a little scrollable i-frame magic to bring the show to you, below.
Here’s a summary of what you’re seeing: basically, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is has, as of October 4th, 2018, outraised so much money that she has more than the combined total of all of the other candidates: $458,393 for Libby versus $366,434 for all of the other nine candidates, put together.
(And in case you’re wondering, the record for money raised in Oakland was set by State Senator Don Perata when he ran for Mayor of Oakland in 2010. He lost to Jean Quan, thanks to Rank Choice Voting. That fact should give pause to anyone who thinks Mayor Schaaf has the election in the bag. Oakland elections history says not so fast.)
The breakdown looks like this:
Mayor Schaaf: $458,393
Saied Karamooz: $181,407
Cat Brooks: $110,324
Pamela Price: $57,018
Marchon Tatmon: $17,685
Cedric Anthony Troupe: No contributions have been reported
Jesse A.J. Smith: No contributions have been reported
Ken Houston: No contributions have been reported
Nancy Sidebotham: No contributions have been reported
Peter Liu: No contributions have been reported
Or, this on Open Disclosure Oakland….
As for the other races, for Oakland City Council District Two, it looks like incumbent Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen has raised almost twice what Nikki Bas has gathered, while Kenzie Smith’s not reporting any monies collected at all:
Councilmember Abel Guillen: $171,443
Nikki Fortunato Bas: $96,087
Donte Kenzie Smith: No contributions have been reported
For Oakland City Council District Four, the breakdown’s more interesting…
Charlie Michelson: $90,334
Joseph Simmons: $53,042
Nayeli Maxson: $50,970
Sheng Thao: $48,024
Pamela Harris: $42,203
Joseph Tanios: $32,270
Francis Hummel: $2,250
In Oakland City Council District Six, Loren Taylor has benefited from Mayor Schaaf’s donor base outside the District to gain more than the incumbent Councilmember Desley Brooks…
Loren Taylor: $136,677
Desley Brooks: $85,054
Natasha Middleton: $61,993
Maria “Marlo” Rodriguez: $24,024
Mya Whitaker: $5,115
On Money, Social Media And Victory In Oakland Elections
I have to get this out of the way: a number of candidates exclusively use either Jack and Mark’s website to promote their runs for office. By that, I mean Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.
Using only Twitter and Facebook to get out a campaign message is just simply not effective. Note, I did not say “social media”, but I did say just Twitter and Facebook.
The Oakland election campaigners ignore YouTube, Reddit, Google’s search engine, Yahoo, Bing, Duck Duck Go, their own website (if they have one) and, well, you should get the idea by now.
On top of that, what they do on Twitter and Facebook isn’t coordinated at all. They just post photos and write stuff. That’s it. No sponsored ad buys. No video message.
What makes them think the effort’s worth it is the “likes” or “comments” they get. No matter that the number of them is small, the reaction itself is a drug. And it’s so intoxicating, it stops them from even considering that what they’re doing is not effective. They’re only reaching “friends” and not at all connecting with those who are voters and turning them into friends.
From this perspective I just presented there is no clear front runner in this race at this point in time. Mayor Schaaf has not used her money wisely; otherwise she could have cleared the field long ago. Cat Brooks has an army of volunteers, but they too are not coordinated, and it’s obvious. A well-directed social media effort by Brooks team could blow everyone away, given her large volunteer base, but right now it’s just not there.
A Closing Thought On Open Disclosure Oakland
Open Disclosure Oakland is a good resource, but it’s not a great one, and for one reason: it does not compare current election spending with past ones so that we can see patterns of change. So, the current website lacks a page that reads “2018 versus 2014″ or 2014 versus 2010”. We don’t come away with any valuable information that can help us gauge how Oakland has changed from a political fundraising perspective.