Former Kern County Supervisor Karen Goh, who ultimately passed former homebuilder Kyle Carter in the June mayoral primary to narrowly claim the No. 1 spot, continued to out-fundraise him in June by a small margin.
Neither Goh nor Carter earned a majority of the vote in June, sending them into a Nov. 8 run-off. The two came within about $1,000 of each other in monetary contributions raised during the May 22-June 30 reporting period.
Monetary contributions — money given by corporations, companies, political action committees and people — are generally seen a measure of community support, evidenced here in thousands of dollars spent by local farmers, construction companies and residents.
According to the latest round of campaign finance reports, Goh raised nearly $23,000 during the latest reporting period, all of it in monetary contributions.
Carter, who has loaned his campaign more than $90,000 — and whose campaign has nearly $100,000 in debt, most of it from those loans — largely avoided fundraising before the primary because he said he wanted to prove his staying power before asking people for money.
This time, however, he raised nearly $22,000 in the 40-day reporting period — or $546 a day — but said his current totals, which should be the subject of future reports, reflect he’s raised a rough average of $1,000 a day.
“We’ve been really focusing on other things in the campaign. You know, getting votes. We’re out walking,” Carter said, estimating his campaign has raised around $60,000 through last week. “I’m positive we’re going to win this thing. It’s not going to be handed to me. It’s going to be a lot of work.”
Carter has raised more than $122,000 total this year, most in loans to himself. That’s a little more than Goh, but all of the more than $117,000 she’s raised has come from monetary contributions.
As of June 30, Carter had a clear advantage over Goh in cash on-hand: more than $39,114 for him versus about $600 for her.
But both candidates pointed out that campaign finance reports are mere snapshots of moments in time and often don’t reflect the latest in fundraising or expenditures.
“We are confident that we have a good campaign plan and we are going to be able to execute as we did in the primary,” said Goh, CEO of Garden Pathways. She was unable to say how much cash on hand her campaign currently has.
Carter’s larger donors include Porter & Associates Inc., a Bakersfield engineering firm whose founder, Fred Porter, says he has known Carter personally and professionally for 30 years. Porter, whose company gave Carter $1,500, said he’s unable to vote in the election because he lives in unincorporated Kern, but he praised Carter’s business acumen.
“He’s got a lot of good ideas, creative ideas. Kind of like the Donald Trump phenomenon we’re seeing in the presidency. People are going for him because he’s an astute businessman. I appreciate when a businessman goes out and wants to do public service,” said Porter, who confirmed he will be voting for Trump.
Goh’s larger donors include Bakersfield residents Kent and Christine Halley, who gave her $1,000. Kent Halley said Goh is not a close friend but praised her communication skills and morality.
“I think she has a strong moral compass, which is a big issue for my wife and me personally, that this town remain aligned with morality,” Halley said.
Three Bakersfield City Council races in downtown and the southwest are still developing.
The hottest so far is Ward 2, which includes downtown. That race has two certified candidates: Incumbent Councilman Terry Maxwell, a restaurateur, and challenger Andrae Gonzales, a Bakersfield City School District trustee and CEO of nonprofit Stewards Inc.
Gonzales raised more than $46,000 in monetary contributions from Jan. 1-June 30 — out-fundraising Maxwell by a nearly three-to-one margin. He said the results show him people are ready “for real leadership.”
“They are tired of politicians talking about issues and spending lots of time on the dais talking in general about different concerns, and they’re ready for a proactive, thoughtful leader,” said Gonzales, whose nonprofit helps clients on disability or retirement incomes manage their finances.
Maxwell, who has long said he’ll answer a challenge with votes, not just money, raised nearly $17,000.
“As I have run an efficient campaign in the past, I will run one again this time,” said Maxwell, who owns T.L. Maxwell's and manages The Mark Restaurant. “He’s going to have to raise a lot of money to overcome an incumbent who’s relatively popular with his constituency.”