In the 2020 Santa Clara election, direct donations to candidates have been overshadowed by PAC spending. However, there’s much to be learned from looking at who and where donations are coming from.
Candidates can’t take donations over $630, more than $99 in cash donations. The City Council candidate spending limit is $25,000. Donations under $99 do not have to be itemized.
Here’s what candidates reported as of the Sept. 24 reporting deadline.
Gautam Barve (District 6)
Newcomer to City politics Barve raised $3,000 with donations over $99 from 10 individuals and has loaned his campaign $16,000 — giving him a total of $19,000. He has accrued expenses of $20,000 for consulting services and campaign materials.
Harbir Bhatia (District 1)
In this first run for elected office, Bhatia received $13,000, with donations over $99 from 30 individuals, a $200 donation of services from Selectiva Services, and has loaned her campaign $1,000. She’s spent $3,400 for campaign materials, Facebook and Google ads and voter data.
Anthony Becker (District 6)
Planning Commissioner Becker received $6,500, with donations over $99 from 12 individuals and one donation from the Teamsters union. He’s spent $4,100 on website services, campaign materials and Facebook ads.
Suds Jain (District 5)
Planning Commissioner Jain received $4,700 in donations from 8 donors and has loaned his campaign $20,000. He’s spent $7,100 on web services, campaign materials and graphic design.
Robert Mezzetti (District 6)
Political newcomer, Mezzetti raised $7,600, with donations over $99 from 12 individuals, only two of which live in Santa Clara. He also received donations from San Jose law firm Berliner Cohen — which does significant amounts of work for the City — Community Process Service, and Fremont Napier LLC, which appears to be a real estate investment company. Mezzetti has loaned his campaign $1,300.
Bob O’Keefe (District 5)
Bob O’Keefe has raised $4,000, with donations over $99 from 15 individuals and a donation from the California Apartment Association. He loaned his campaign $4,250. Although the Firefighters union PAC reported making a donation to O’Keefe’s campaign, his reports don’t show it. He’s spent $3,700 on campaign materials and Facebook ads.
Teresa O’Neill (District 4)
Running for her third term, O’Neill received $4,900 with donations over $99 from 13 individuals, with donations from the California Apartment Association and the Santa Clara Firefighters PAC, and $400 in yard sign donations. O’Neill loaned her campaign $2,000, She has spent $2,300 on campaign materials, and communications and social media services.
Kevin Park (District 4)
Former International Commissioner and Citizens Advisory Committee Chair, Park received $5,000 with donations over $99 donations from 7 individuals. Park loaned his campaign $100. He’s spent $2,400 on campaign materials and web hosting.
Kathy Watanabe (District 1)
Running for a second term, Watanabe has received $3,900, with donations over $99 from 35 individuals, and lent her campaign $2,000. She also received $600 worth of web and graphics services. She’s spent $2,600 on campaign materials. As of Sept. 19, she hadn’t reported any spending on the ads for her that began appearing on Sept. 24 on Google AdSense.
You can find campaign reports at: https://ssl.netfile.com/static/agency/csc/.