Some people I talked to, both on and off the record, said that they were surprised that Rosemead Mayor John Tran has raised $100,000 for a local race. Tran says that he has done so because of his surprise two years ago that Wal-Mart contributed so much to back former Councilman Jay Imperial and Councilman Gary Taylor during a recall election.
“The last time I ran, Wal-Mart contributed over $400,000 to a local election and taht was an eye-opener. I want to make sure I have enough funds to get my point across,” Tran told me on Friday.
Here’s my story that ran today:
Mayor outpaces all others in money for City Council race
By Jennifer McLain, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 08/24/2008 07:07:36 AM PDT
ROSEMEAD – Mayor John Tran is leading the fundraising pack and has collected more than $100,000 for a City Council election that is seven months away, finance records show.
The city’s election will be held in March, and candidates will be vying for three open seats currently held by Tran, Councilwoman Margaret Clark and Councilman John Nuez.
Officials said they are surprised that Tran, who is seeking his second term on the council, has raised so much money so early.
“It’s outrageous,” said Clark. “We are a little city. It is outside money trying to buy power.”
Campaign finance records show that from January to June, Tran raised $102,218; Nuez raised $31,684; and Clark raised $1,969.
Also actively fundraising this period is Councilwoman Polly Low, whose seat is not up until 2011. She raised $37,407 this period.
Rosemead is a city of nearly 55,000 residents. Traditionally, candidates have raised no more than $50,000.
But a recall election in 2006 prompted by the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter heightened the bar for fundraising efforts.
During that race, Wal-Mart contributed nearly $400,000 to support the recall targets: Councilman Gary Taylor and former Councilman Jay Imperial.
Taylor and Imperial were not recalled.