Moments after the end of the June primaries — and even before that — candidates for two vacant seats on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors wasted no time heading into the Nov. 8 runoff election.
In the District 2 race, Belmont board member Charles Stone and San Mateo-Foster City school district trustee Noelia Corzo have begun fundraising for the runoff election, according to the latest campaign finance reports from May 22 to June 30. for November; Stone raised $45,000.
Stone has been running for the seat since 2019, but his fundraising has always seemed to lag behind, possibly because potential donors thought he would win the race in June. Instead, he barely topped a strong showing from Corzo, and perhaps that energized potential Stone backers.
But it’s the race in District 3 between Menlo Park council member Ray Mueller and San Carlos council member Laura Parmer-Lohan, where not only the money, but also the questionable endorsements and poll questions suggest a busy campaign.
Parmer-Lohan recorded $68,000 in November, according to the May 22-June 30 report; Mueller raised $15,000.
Mueller, meanwhile, received another notable endorsement this week from Multidistrict Commissioner Virginia Chang Kiraly. She finished third in the June primary with nearly 20% of the vote. His nod could tip the November balance between Parmer-Lohan and Mueller, who finished first with just 1,100 votes.
But Chang Kiraly’s endorsement may include some baggage the cautious Mueller could do without. In her statement of support, Chang Kiraly wrote, “As a woman, elected leader, businesswoman and community volunteer, I believe we need to focus on important issues, rather than identity politics, to ensure that the real problems are solved.
Parmer-Lohan is the third openly gay nominee to the board, behind trailblazers Tom Nolan, elected in 1984, and Rich Gordon, elected in 1996. His candidacy has drawn support from a broad base of advocacy organizations. election of LGBTQ people.
Parmer-Lohan’s personal story hasn’t been a focus of his campaign, certainly not any more than any other candidate who highlights significant family and personal details.
Nolan was the first, and he demonstrated in a way that broadened public understanding that personal stories matter. Due to Nolan’s own history, he pushed the county into an aggressive response to the AIDS crisis. While the county has a history of compassion, it’s likely the AIDS crisis wouldn’t have been handled so well without Nolan. His presence meant that this issue had a lawyer at the table. This is the fundamental reason why all underrepresented and underserved communities should push for political power.
All elected officials rely on their personal experiences to inform policy-making, and all candidates rely on their personal relationships and history to raise funds.
The political question is whether Chang Kiraly, by raising “identity politics”, has energized a coalition of donors who can make a difference in what could be a close race.
The question of how close that race really is brings us back to last week’s polling data report released by Parmer-Lohan. He claims to show him a lead of 40.8% to 22.9% “after information on the two candidates”.
I contacted Parmer-Lohan to find out what was included in the “information on the two candidates”. Was it a straightforward description or did it nudge voters toward a desired outcome?
Citing a busy schedule, Parmer-Lohan asked me to submit my questions in writing. It’s not ideal. A written exchange leaves no opportunity for follow-up questions. That’s exactly what happened.
Parmer-Lohan responded yesterday – in writing – that the poll was conducted by Godbe Research, led by longtime local pollster Bryan Godbe. She said: ‘Bryan Godbe said the poll is in line with what is typical of this type of race – which is to present voters with information on all the candidates and then ask the voter to weigh in for whom they is eligible to vote. ”
I wanted to ask Parmer-Lohan about some polling questions, sent to me by a source, which asked for voters’ response to a statement that Mueller “will say whatever he thinks a person wants to hear to get his vote”. And that Mueller “spent years pandering to special interests to advance his career.” And that Mueller “is in the pocket of the big developers”.
Indeed, these are typical “push” questions that can skew the results.
They were reportedly asked by McGuire Research, a Las Vegas-based polling firm. Among the clients listed on its website is Godbe Research. Godbe did not respond to an interview request.
Parmer-Lohan was quite cordial, “Fundraising, community outreach, paid work, and family responsibilities make time management a bit difficult, so I appreciate your flexibility.”
Of course, I really had no choice.
Mark Simon is a seasoned journalist, whose career included 15 years as an executive at SamTrans and Caltrain. He can be contacted at [email protected]