Candidates for City Council report raising $174,000 so far

While some are off to a good start, they still have a ways to go to catch up to what a pair of current councilmembers raised during their most recent campaigns

We may not know precisely who will be on the November ballot for Palm Springs City Council, but we’re getting a picture of how some potential candidates’ campaign finances are shaping up.

The news: Documents filed with the Palm Springs City Clerk’s office show five of the roughly one dozen candidates who have either indicated they would be running or pulled the required paperwork to run for City Council raised about $174,000 combined as the filing period came to a close June 30 and just shortly after.

  • Ron deHarte (District 3) and Jeffrey Bernstein (District 2) announced their candidacies in January. With that head start, they’ve taken in the most money.

  • Bernstein leads all candidates with $75,000 in donations; deHarte has $52,000.

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The District 1 incumbent, Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner, announced she would seek re-election in January. She has so far taken in $30,000. During her 2019 campaign, she raised a total of $48,000.

  • Garner’s likely opponent, TV personality Scott Nevins, only recently announced he would be running. Forms on file with the city show he raised $4,000 via a donation to himself by the end of June.

Zoom in: Of the remaining potential candidates, only Renee Brown in District 2 has indicated she received any donations. Brown tallied $12,850 after the filing period closed, including a pair of maximum contributions ($4,900) from philanthropist Harold Matzner and Jackie Autry, widow of legendary city resident Gene Autry.

Behind the scenes: Donations to the various campaigns come from many who have helped fuel prior City Council races.

  • Aside from Matzner and Autry, large campaign donors include owners of some of the city’s major restaurants, hotels, and other businesses, as well as prominent members of local organizations.

  • You can weed through the paperwork here to see who is contributing what and how candidates are spending the contributions. Look for forms 460 and 497.

Looking back: While some of the candidates are off to a good start with three months left before election day, they still have a ways to go to catch up to what a pair of current councilmembers — both of them former mayors — raised during their most recent campaigns.

  • Councilmember Christy Holstege, who may exit city government should she win a seat in the State Assembly in November, hauled in $150,000 during her 2020 City Council campaign; Councilmember Geoff Kors raised $110,000 in 2019. 

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