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The battle for San Diego's open Sixth District city-council seat is rapidly shaping up as a familiar big-money political party-dominated contest, with the two partisan candidates as well as the major independent running for the seat engaged in a fundraising race to the political death.

At the top of the money pile, as shown by recent reports, is Republican Chris Cate, a longtime lobbyist with the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, where he is currently vice president. The group represents the local business establishment on issues ranging from loosening environmental regulations to abolishing the so-called linkage fee on commercial development.

Board members include T.J.Zane, president and CEO of the GOP Lincoln Club, fresh from an impressive victory over Democratic city councilman David Alvarez, target of the club's onslaught of hit pieces during the city's just-concluded mayoral election.

Cate raised a total of $100,424 during 2013, the reports show, drawing major money from employees of Mission Valley developer Sudberry Properties ($1650), as well as Sudberry family members ($1100). Employees with cable-TV giant Cox Communications came up with $1100.

Lobbyists with California Strategies, the big influence-peddling firm founded by onetime Pete Wilson aide Bob White, gave $950. Biggest donor of all was San Diego's Republican Party, with $20,000, the reports say.

Cate's Democratic rival, Carol Kim, reported collecting a total of $40,400, with $10,000 of that coming from the county's Democratic Party. Independent Mitz Lee got a total of $30,855. Two other candidates in the race, De Quang Le and Keith Wong, reported no funds raised.

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monaghan Feb. 22, 2014 @ 2:53 p.m.

Never mind the money for a change -- money isn't everything.

In the contest for the new 6th City Council District seat, Independent candidate Mitz Lee has deep community ties and a history of service in citywide elective office. She is the community candidate -- neither a carpetbagger or a creature of special interests.

Lee was elected to the San Diego Unified Board of Education in 2004 on a platform of fiscal responsibility and academic excellence and it was during her term that controversial Superintendent Alan Bersin resigned. Thank you, Mrs. Lee.

Lee has lived in Mira Mesa for 30 years with her retired Navy officer husband, Jeff, and their now-grown sons who went to SanDiego State. She serves presently on the San Diego Human Relations Commission and on the board of her neighborhood Rancho YMCA.

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