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It's "Dennis who?" as voters mull District 4 Assembly sample ballots

Gaines leads in fundraising
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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While Beth Gaines consolidates her campaign’s perception that she’s the frontrunner in conservative-leaning District 4’s special election, her lone opponent for the Assembly seat has been keeping an uncommonly low profile. Roseville Democrat Dennis Campanale and Gaines, a Republican hoping to replace her husband Ted Gaines in the Assembly, are in special runoff election May 3, Gaines is currently on a campaign to reach out to local leaders while ramping up the fundraising with several big-ticket donations streaming in from both inside and outside District 4. Conversely, Campanale has turned into a mystery man for many Placer County voters. When sample ballots arrived in the mail, Gaines had a candidate statement but Campanale didn’t. The Placer County elections division confirmed that Campanale chose not to file a statement, which would have cost $3,550. The two candidates will report campaign fund-raising totals later this month but early indications are that Gaines will be well in front in terms of a campaign war chest. “We have a six-figure budget for the election and will reach that goal,” campaign manager Andre Levesque said. “Beth has been working hard at fund-raising and she’s seen terrific support from the community.” Levesque said Gaines is finding the pulse of the district through sit-downs with local business and political leaders. Gaines met Friday with Auburn Chamber of Commerce and other officials following a similar confab earlier in Rocklin. Campanale failed to respond to several phone calls from the Journal. But he did make a request for candidate funding to the state Democrats. Campanale said after topping the polls with 33 percent of the vote March 8 that he anticipated a financial boost from the state Democratic Party to pull off a win. Gaines placed second. Tenoch Flores, communications director for the California Democratic Party, said that Campanale didn’t receive any funding. “The California Democratic Party does not pay for candidate filing statements,” Flores said. “That’s a candidate’s responsibility and we feel that’s something that serious candidates should do.” Campanale’s name is also a no-show on the list of $1,000-plus donors that is filed electronically with the California Secretary of State’s office and listed online. They must be filed within 24 hours of receiving them but no $1,000-plus donations are listed under his name. Gaines has reported 83 separate donations of $1,000 since the March 8 primary totaling $166,000, with several large corporate donors mixed in with Indian tribal gaming money, business and local contributions. Levesque said the number of donations is indicative of the confidence donors have that the money will be going to support the next District 4 Assembly member. It also reflects Gaines’s emphasis on job creation and support for business, he said. That support for Gaines is reinforced by the tens of thousands of dollars that could also be lined up in a close race from political action committees such as San Diego-based California Taxpayers Advocate and the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians in Orland. The San Diego group pumped $62,000 for ads on several radio stations, including KFBK, KNCI and KSEG just before the March 8 election. The Paskenta Band spent $25,000 on radio airtime March 7 in support of Gaines. Bill Bandes, a Roseville-area Democrat who ran for congress in San Diego in the early 1970s, said that Campanale e-mailed him a copy of a prospective candidate’s statement before the filing deadline. “I thought it was a good statement and that this election could fly,” Bandes said. “But he said the state party turned him down and he was counting on the firefighters and they didn’t think it was winnable. He said it looks like he was not going to make it.” Bandes said he convinced the Placer County Democratic Party Central Committee to pay for a recent newspaper advertisement with Campanale’s candidate credentials. He still thinks there’s a slim chance and that Campanale would be a better Assembly member than Gaines. “But in politics, when they see you just lie down dead in the water then you’re going to be in trouble,” Bandes said. ------------------------------------------------- Getting on the Gaines bandwagon Here’s a sampling of some of the donations that have recently come into the Beth Gaines election campaign. She has filed 83 reports of $2,000 or more. Her opponent, Dennis Campanale, has reported zero: $3,900 MCM Construction, North Highlands $1,500 California Society of Plastic Surgeons, Sacramento $3,900 Pacific Gas & Electric, San Francisco $3,900 Anheuser-Busch Companies, Sacramento $3,000 Martin Harmon/Auburn Manor Holding Corp., Rocklin $1,000 Nella Oil Company, Auburn $7,800 California Real Estate PAC, Los Angeles $3,900 Pechanga Band of Mission Indians, Temecula $3,900 Sempra Energy, San Diego $3,900 Philip Morris USA, Sacramento $2,500 California Tribal Business Alliance State Candidate PAC, Sacramento $2,500 Viejas Tribal Government, Alpine $1,500 California Chamber of Commerce PAC, Sacramento Source: Secretary of State