Dorian Hargrove 12:47 p.m., May 19
Even Before Del Mar Track Opens, San Diego Politicos Off and Running for Its Campaign Cash
Next Wednesday the Del Mar track opens for the season, and amongst the fillies and big-hatted socialites on display, there will likely be more than a few state and local politicos.
It's been that way for years, ever since the 1950s, when crooked Hollywood moguls, mobsters, Texas oil titans, and the F.B.I.'s J. Edgar Hoover convened at the seaside track each summer, placing bets and conducting covert business.
Compared to that glorious heyday, the contemporary political stakes appear to be a lot smaller, but still signficant enough for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, current proprietors of the grand racing emporium, to have spent $41,400 during the first half of this year greasing the campaign palms of a host of state legislators and the governor.
Gov. Jerry Brown - whose father, the late California Gov. Pat Brown, once used the track as a political playground - got $5,000 from the club in February of this year for his 2014 re-election bid, according to the track's campaign finance report, filed yesterday.
Democratic Assemblywoman Toni Atkins collected $1,000, as did her colleague Marty Block's 2012 state senate campaign.
Their fellow Assembly Democrat Ben Hueso got $500.
Termed-out state Democratic Sen. Christine Kehoe, deeply enmeshed in the complicated political intrigue that has accompanied the thus far failed effort by the city of Del Mar to buy the fairgrounds where the track stands, got $500 for her 2016 Assembly campaign committee.
And Juan Vargas, now regarded as a virtual shoo-in for Congress after beating fellow Democrat Denise Ducheny in last month's primary, got $1,000 this April for his 2010 state senate campaign cookie jar.
Then there was GOP Assemblyman Martin Garrick, still trying to live down last year's DUI bust in the capitol garage, who picked up $500 for his own 2014 state senate effort.