Thanks to a wide swath of contributors and a sizable chunk from his own pocket, Los Angeles County supervisorial candidate Bobby Shriver has jumped ahead of rival Sheila Kuehl in putting together campaign cash for the race to replace incumbent Zev Yaroslavsky, new finance statements show.
In addition to donating $300,000 of his own money, Shriver raised $547,736 from a long list of contributors that reads like a who’s who of the entertainment industry, including talk show host Oprah Winfrey, actor Tom Hanks and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
Members of Shriver's politically prominent family -- he's the nephew of President Kennedy -- also are heavily represented among the contributors, as are Shriver’s associates in the business and nonprofit worlds.
In all, 1,993 donors have given to Shriver’s campaign since he announced his candidacy in late January. His contributors gave $300 or less. That is the maximum allowed after Shriver, a former Santa Monica City Council member, rejected voluntary spending limits and added his own large donation to the campaign.
Kuehl, a former state senator, reported collecting a total of $717,000 as of Monday's latest reporting deadline. She has been actively campaigning and raising dollars for about a year. West Hollywood Councilman John Duran has raised just over $187,000, reports show.
Bill Carrick, Shriver’s consultant, said Shriver has built a wide network of friends during his work for the Special Olympics, started by his late mother Eunice Shriver, and while building nonprofit groups with U2 singer Bono dedicated to improving African healthcare.
“He’s somebody who is connected to a lot of people who share his commitment to trying to do things that are really meaningful,’’ Carrick said.
Kuehl said she is thankful for the support she has received, noting she has more fundraising events planned. Kuehl had been limited to raising $1,500 per donor until Shriver declared he would partly self-fund his campaign. Now, under county election rules, she can accept unlimited donations.
Last week, Kuehl received a $75,000 contribution from the California Nurses Assn., a Sacramento-based group that advocates on behalf of the state’s nursing profession. During her years in the Legislature, Kuel sponsored a law that set nurse-to-patient ratios, and she twice attempted to pass a universal healthcare law.