San Diego county clerk Ernest Dronenburg is relying on one well-heeled financial supporter to fund his reelection campaign: himself.
Disclosures filed with the county show Dronenburg loaned his campaign committee (“Friends of Ernest Dronenburg 2014”) $50,000 in late December 2013. The loan is the second one that Dronenburg has given to his campaign committee; he’s given a total of $147,500 since being elected county clerk in 2010. Of that pot of cash, he has forgiven $45,000 and still owes more than $100,000.
There's plenty more cash where that came from. According to a recent economic disclosure, Dronenburg holds hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks with companies such as AT&T and MRI Interventions. He is also part owner of Cypress Hill Farms in Fallbrook, assets of which were reported to be between $100,000 and $1 million. Dronenburg owns property in Fallbrook valued at over $1 million as well.
Despite the fact that county-clerk reelection campaigns typically aren’t where large amounts of cash are spent, this election may be different.
Dronenburg came under fire last July for deciding to hold off from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in order to give the Supreme Court time to discuss the matter. He teamed up with the pro–Prop 8 attorney Charles Li Mandri to file a writ of mandate to the Supreme Court; the move called to action LGBT activists and supporters of same-sex marriage. A Facebook page, "Dump Dronenburg in 2014" was created and has since amassed over 700 followers.
Then, on January 28, LGBT activist Sean Sala called for Dronenburg's resignation after finding what Sala claims was evidence that the county clerk had partnered up with LiMandri well before the court's decision. Sala held a press conference accusing Dronenburg of abuse of power.
The "press conference is not being held to make the case that Dronenburg abused his office, we already know he did,” Sala wrote in statement.
Unseating Dronenburg, however, will be an uphill battle. As of February 20, Dronenburg is the only candidate in the running.
(revised 2/24, 8:25 p.m.)