Richard Verstegan 5 a.m., March 12
Booze, Money, Power and Influence: Inside Politics with New Padres Owner Ron Fowler
Beer distributor Ron Fowler, who just bought himself a piece of the Padres in an $800 million deal announced yesterday, is a major league local political player who has been a big cash backer of both Republican and Democratic causes.
Federal campaign disclosure records show that Del Mar’s Fowler gave $1,000 this June 1 to Democratic state Assemblyman Jared Huffman, currently running for congress in California’s newly drawn 2nd congressional district. The race is for the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma, who is retiring after 20 years representing the northern coast.
Huffman currently represents the 6th Assembly district, just south of Santa Rosa, where Mesa Beverage Company, a subsidiary of Fowler’s Liquid Investments, is headquartered.
Fowler has long curried favor among San Diego area GOP pols by kicking in for Republican House members Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray, and a failed U.S. Senate bid by mayor Susan Golding, a favorite of the local booze lobby because of her push for a new taxpayer-subsidized Chargers stadium and the Padres ballpark.
He is also a generous donor to the National Beer Wholesalers federal political action committee, giving $5,000 each year, according to campaign disclosure records. And Fowler showed up with $4,000 for Peter Coors, when the conservative Colorado beer magnate mounted a failed run for U.S. Senate back in 2004.
On February 10 of this year, records show, Fowler came up with $25,000 for San Diegans for Nathan Fletcher - Mayor 2012, a committee set up to promote the mayoral candidacy of ex-GOP state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who forsook the party and proclaimed himself an independent during the campaign.
Though Fowler's committee sent out record volleys of hit pieces against GOP city councilman Carl Demaio and Democratic congressman Bob Filner, Fletcher came in third in that race.
In May 2008, as Don Bauder reported here, Fowler’s company gave $10,000 to Propositions A, B, and C, part of the victorious "strong mayor" campaign backed by GOP mayor Jerry Sanders.
And Fowler is no stranger to the Padres and the team's formidable political and lobbying muscle, having been on the ball club’s board during the John Moores era with former Democratic state senator and current Moores lieutenant Steve Peace.
More like this:
- Padres honcho says it with cash: Anybody but Filner — Jan. 29, 2013
- Political Brewskis — Aug. 22, 2012
- Booze Merchants Association Gives Big to Fletcher Mayoral Campaign — May 24, 2012
- Mayoral Campaign of Newly Independent Nathan Fletcher Gives $5,000 To GOP, Filing Says — April 13, 2012
- Nathan Fletcher for Assembly (or Mayor) — April 13, 2011