The semi-annual campaign fundraising report filed by Patty Gaby, the District 6 candidate recruited by Mayor Tom Tait, shows a heavy reliance on the financial support from the mayor and his allies.
Between January 1 and June 30, 2018, the novice candidate reported raising $17,459 – approximately half of which came from members of the Tait family and Tait ally Howard Ahmanson. Gaby did not make any personal loans to her campaign. A like proportion of now-Councilwoman Denise Barnes’ contributions at the same point in her 2016 District 1 campaign also came from political allies of the mayor, and his family members.
Gaby was a teacher with the La Habra School District until retiring this June. She participated in a district-wide teacher strike in 2010, walking the picket line with other teachers union members. Judging from her website, she’s basically campaigning as a political extension of Mayor Tait.
Report Signals Reliance On Independent Expenditures
Gaby’s report signals her candidacy will be reliant on independent expenditures to communicate with voters. Howard Ahmanson has traditionally funded large independent expenditures to boost Tait-endorsed candidates such as Barnes and now-Councilman Jose F. Moreno in District 3 in 2016; there’s every expectation he’ll do so again this cycle.
Gaby’s is a late entry and her primary competition in District 6 is Republican businessman Trevor O’Neil, who has been running a robust campaign since early last year. O’Neil has been a regular at city council meetings, delivering articulate conservative positions on city issues, and has been endorsed by Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Assemblyman Steven Choi, OUSD Trustee Andrea Yamasaki and a slew of local elected officials and community leaders.
According to his campaign, O’Neil has raised about $85,000 and has around $55,000 cash-on-hand.
The remaining credible candidate is urban planner Grant Henninger, a past planning commissioner. Henninger has raised slightly more than $41,000 – $25,000 in the form of a personal loan – and reported about $35,000 cash-on-hand. His biggest contributors are recently-recall state Senator Josh Newman, Democratic mover-and-shaker Wylie Aitken and William Knohl – who wants to build a performing arts center in Anaheim.
Henninger’s biggest handicap is being a liberal Democrat in heavily Republican District 6.