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Shriver Outpaces Kuehl in Runoff Fundraising Race

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By Daniel Larios
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August 1, 2014 – Six weeks after finishing second in June’s primary election for LA County Supervisor, former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver has raised almost $300,000, nearly twice the amount raised by his rival, former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl.

Shriver raised $298,105, while Kuehl raised $174,871.55 during the May 18 to June 30 fundraising period, according to finance disclosure forms released to the Lookout by their campaigns. Both camps counted on donations from famous Angelenos.

Among the notable donors to Shriver’s campaign were film legend Rob Reiner, music producer Rick Rubin, architect Frank Gehry, film director Jerry Bruckheimer and hip-hop legend Russell Simmons.

Kuehl’s received donations from attorney and women’s rights advocate Gloria Allred and actress Judith Light. Congresswoman Julia Brownley and California Assembly Speaker (and former temporary Governor) Toni Atkins also contributed..

“I feel very, very good about our [fundraising] showing, both for the primary, and in the rest of June,” Kuehl told The Lookout. “I am grateful for all the support I've been getting.

“These folks are the wind at my back and have given me a lot of momentum for the November election,” she said.

The Shriver campaign is optimistic about the fundraising numbers a month after the Kennedy member agreed to a $1.4 million spending cap for the November General Election.

The limit bars Shriver, who spent $1 million of his own money in the primary, from contributing to his own campaign.

Shriver thanked his supporters, who include West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran and former Malibu mayor Pamela Conley Ulich, who were among his main rivals in the primary.

“I am so grateful to my friends and supporters for their generosity and confidence.” Shriver said in a statement. “In the last few weeks, I have been endorsed by two of my principal opponents… who participated in over 20 debates with me and Sheila Kuehl.

“They have a unique perspective on us and on who would be the best Supervisor,” Shriver said. “Both are actively campaigning with me across the District.”

By accepting the voluntary spending limit heading into the November General Election, Shriver can raise $1,500 per donor instead of the $300 he was limited to in the primary.

A review of his campaign financial statements show his campaign is taking advantage of the increased donation limit.

In addition to direct donations to his campaign, Shriver also enjoys the support of three Independent Expenditure committees, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, but are prohibited from coordinating their efforts with the candidate.

Kuehl currently does not have any independent expenditure committees raising and spending money on her behalf.

During the primary, Shriver raised $1.9 million – half of it his own money – for the June Primary election and finished second to Kuehl, who spent $1.2 million.

In addition to releasing their list of campaign donors, the Shriver campaign also publicly released a post-primary poll, conducted between June 22 and 26, which shows Shriver with a slight 2 percent lead in the General Election, earning 36 percent to Kuehl’s 34 percent.

The internal poll shows Shriver with a 10 percent higher approval rating than Kuehl.

"Our polling shows we are building a winning coalition across the Third District with strong support among all geographic and demographic groups", said Shriver Campaign Strategist Bill Carrick.

"Bobby's message of new ideas and smart solutions for LA County combined with his record of extraordinary success in the private sector, non-profit world, and local government is resonating with the November electorate,” Carrick said.

However, political observers are cautious about the numbers, since internal polls have a slight bias.

“The traditional explanation for this phenomenon is that the subset of campaign polls that are released to the public is subject to a type of selection bias,” writes Nate Silver in his website FiveThirtyEight.

“Campaigns conduct polls all the time, but only occasionally disclose these results to the public and will be much more inclined to do so when the numbers are favorable for their candidates (especially in comparison to independent polls).

“In essence, the internal polls that filter their way into the public domain may be the outliers,” he added.

Inaccurate internal polls have made headlines in recent, nationwide, primary elections.  In June, now former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his seat in a primary after internal campaign polls showed him with a comfortable 34-point lead.

Shriver and Kuehl are competing to replace Zev Yaroslovsky as supervisor of the Third District, which stretches from Hollywood to Santa Monica and includes the entire San Fernando Valley.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that David Geffen contributed to Sheila Kuehl.

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