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Curren Price Benefits From Sacramento Donors

Paresh Dave |
February 28, 2013 | 1:30 a.m. PST

Executive Director

One of the mailers largely paid for by the California Dental Association and Personal Insurance Federation Committee.
One of the mailers largely paid for by the California Dental Association and Personal Insurance Federation Committee.

Major organizations normally focused on influencing the state Legislature have donated more than $177,000 to independent committees supporting State Senator Curren Price’s bid to represent South L.A. on the city council. That’s about $20,000 more than Price’s campaign had raised on its own through Feb. 16.

The California Dental Association donated $25,000 to "Better Schools and Safer Neighborhoods for Los Angeles Committee to Support Curren Price for City Council 2013," an independent expenditure committee formed to support Price. The committee has spent more than $91,000 in February on fliers that have, among other things, featured Price’s campaign platform, endorsements from Sheriff Lee Baca and praise from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Price chairs the State Senate’s Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, which oversees the dental industry.

Dan Schnur, the director of USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, said that campaign contributions are a never-ending process.

“A Sacramento interest does not care very much about what Curren Price does on the city council, but they do care about what he does in his remaining time in the Legislature,” Schnur said. “There are a lot of people who think he will be an effective councilman, but there's also a lot of people who want to stay on his good side as long as he’s in Sacramento.”

The California Dental Association had given $16,400 in total to Price’s state campaign accounts since 2006. But they also indepdently spent $30,000 to support him in 2010.

“The irony here is that if Price is successful and these contributions help, he won’t be in a position to cast votes in Sacramento much longer,” Schnur said.

The new city council begins work July 1. Price's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Independent groups backing Price have also received:

The California Apartment Association PAC and the California Dental PAC each donated $700 directly to Price’s campaign. The Dental PAC donated $700 to Assemblyman Felipe Feuntes campaign for city council last June, before he exited the Legislature in December because of term limits. The Apartment Association PAC more recently also donated $700 to one of Price's opponents, Terry Hara.

Price’s main competitors come from the city workforce: Hara of the L.A. Police Department and council staff members Ana Cubas and David Roberts.

Hara’s raised the most money, with much of it coming from the greater Los Angeles region’s Asian community. Cubas has tapped the Latino community in the region as her main source of funds. Roberts has the least money of the four, but he did pick up an endorsement from the Los Angeles Times this week.

“Building relationships, like Curren Price has, is one way of raising money,” Schnur said. “Engaging ethnic communities, like Hara and Cubas have, is one way. And high-profile endorsements can be a pretty good fundraising tool, too.”

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