Barbara Bry. Anti-Bry money from Sempra cam via the LGBT Caucus Leadership Fund.
A torrent of October campaign cash accompanying San Diego Gas & Electric's sole bid to remain the city's exclusive gas and electricity supplier for the next two decades is likely to carry the day for the Sempra Energy-owned utility, say skeptics of the proceedings.
Even Gloria's rejection late last Friday of the SDG&E bid still leaves some predicting the incumbent will be the ultimate winner, albeit with offering some potential financial sweeteners to help refill cash-starved city coffers in the wake of Covid-19.
"We are encouraged by Mayor Todd Gloria's swift and transparent action," said SDG&E in a short December 18 response to his rejection of the company’s bid. "We are committed to be part of a constructive path forward and stand ready to work collaboratively with the Mayor and City Council."
With the final say technically up to the city council, talk of a city takeover of the utility or a year-long extension of SDG&E's expiring 50-year deal to come up with fresh bidders is in the air.
But Sempra's cascade of campaign cash, which disclosures show ultimately benefited certain Democrats, including Todd Gloria, could strongly influence the outcome in favor of SDG&E. California campaign disclosure filings show that Sempra's contributions grew sizably in the weeks leading up to the November 3 election.
The San Diego County Democratic Party got $15,000 from Sempra on September 10, and the local party received $5000 more from Sempra on October 15, for a total of $20,000.
In turn, the county party became a significant source of campaign funding for hand-picked city council hopefuls, including Marni von Wilpert for City Council 2020 ($7935, October 14), Raul Campillo for City Council District 7 2020 ($1895, October 16 and $9068, October 6), and Steve Whitburn for City Council 2020 ($5661, October 6).
On October 15, Sempra kicked in $25,000 to the Sacramento-based LGBT Caucus Leadership Fund, which on October 1 gave $50,000 and on October 16 an additional $30,000, for a total of $80,000, to Neighbors for Housing Solutions Supporting Todd Gloria for San Diego Mayor 2020.
As previously reported, that group raised more than $1.3 million for a last-minute flurry of hit pieces against Gloria's foe and fellow Democrat Barbara Bry, linking her to the policies of Donald Trump and local elected Republicans.
San Diego Works, a political action committee run by the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council AFL CIO, that largely backs Democratic candidates, received $20,000 from Sempra on October 2. In turn, San Diego Works came up with $50,000 for Neighbors for Housing Solutions on October 26.
The San Diego County Regional Chamber of Commerce, whose PAC gave Neighbors for Housing Solutions $80,000 on September 29, got $10,000 from Sempra on October 9.