If the latest finance reports are any indication of the health of a political campaign, 5th District City Councilmember Stacy Mungo will be the candidate with the biggest advantage over her opponents as she heads into Long Beach’s April 10 Primary Nominating Election.
Mungo received $13,170 in contributions from Jan. 1 through Feb. 24. She spent $13,328.46 in that same period. Mungo could afford the expense. The 5th-district councilmember’s fundraising efforts in 2017 posted a healthy flush of cash. A quick tally of her overall contributions against her expenditures reveals that Mungo has an ending cash balance of $84,681.08 as of Feb. 24.
The incumbent candidate also has a separate officeholder account from her 2014 campaign. While it has an ending balance of $25,346.17, the account shows very little recent activity reported in her official campaign-finance forms. She only spent $50 from that expense account between Jan. 1 and Jan. 26.
In the previous year, her treasurer reported more activity on her officeholder account. Mungo spent $9,453.26 in 2017 from that account, however, it is unclear if she used any of this money to fund her re-election campaign.
All of the expenses for her officeholder account fell into three categories: civic donations to nonprofit organizations, office costs and web-related charges (including surveys and payments to Constant Contact, a software company known for email marketing). Her office does send regular news updates to an emailed distribution list. The campaign spent more money on two out of the three categories. Mungo’s finance reports from 2017 noted she spent a combined total of $4,814.42 on web-related and office expenses.
She also enjoys outside support from special-interest groups. Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s political-action committee gave Mungo $400 in 2018. The National Association of Realtors spent a total of $8,987.08 on Mungo. The association attributed nearly $8,300 of that cost to mailers in support of Mungo’s campaign this month.
Corliss Lee, another candidate for the 5th District, has a smaller bank account. Her treasurer reported that Lee received $12,746.79 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 24. Her campaign spent $4,284.45 during that same period. Lee’s campaign finished with a cash balance of $7,125.76 by Feb. 24, according to the most recent statement.
Lee doesn’t enjoy the same level of support that Mungo enjoys from well-heeled political-action committees. Citizens About Responsible Planning and the Association of Long Beach Employees each gave $400 to Lee’s campaign in January. Lee, a retiree, has directly funded her own campaign. So far, she has loaned her campaign a total of $6,850 through Feb. 24.
Rich Dines, the other contender hoping to remove Mungo from her place on the council dais, finds himself in a much better financial position. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 24, his campaign reported that it received $9,838 and spent $10,227.44. Dines, who only filed to run for city council last October, reported an ending cash balance of $28,944.18 on Feb. 24.
Since the March 1 deadline for the finance reports for each candidate has passed, the prospects for one other candidate running for the 5th-district council seat look a little more questionable. Candidates only need to provide detailed reports when they raise or spend $2,000 or more. John W. Osborn II reported that he loaned $10,000 to his campaign, but he did not provide any other expenditure or other contribution tallies through Feb. 24.
Other potential candidates Stanley Dressler, Ronald Rodriguez and Steven Hansen did not provide financial reports since they declared their intention to run for the 5th District council seat. The city clerk’s office did not include them on the official candidate list for the April election.