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Candidates & Coalition Pick Consultants

Hillel Aron | December 18, 2012

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The March 5 elections are less than three months away, and campaigns and advocates are busy hiring campaign consultants.

The San Francisco-based SCN Strategies political consulting firm has confirmed that they will manage the independent expenditure (IE) campaign for the Coalition for School Reform.

Meantime, three individual candidates — both union-endorsed and otherwise — have hired SG&A Campaigns to manage their campaigns.

Independent expenditure (IE) campaigns, like Super PACs, are supposed to be independent from the candidate and are not allowed to coordinate with the individual campaigns. While there are strict limits on how much an an individual can contribute directly to a candidate, there is no limit to how much an individual can contribute to an IE committee.

Mayor Villaraigosa raised money for the Coalition in 2011, much of it from well-to-do folks like Philip Anshutz, Eli Broad and Reed Hastings. He is expected to perform similar fundraising duties this year.

In 2011, the Coalition spent $1.4 million in support of three candidates: Tamar Galatzan, Luis Sanchez and Dr. Richard Vladovic (for more on those races, see News21). The Coalition’s campaign was run by Parke Skelton and Steve Barkan of SG&A.
That year, the four school board races cost over $5.5 million.

Sean Clegg, left, and Ace Smith, center, of SCN Strategies, pictured with Chris Lehane, right

SCN, a top political consulting firm based in San Francisco, is coming off an impressive victory in November, having managed the winning Proposition 30 campaign, which temporarily raised taxes to fund public education. The two point people for the Coalition’s campaign will be Sean Clegg and Ace Smith.

SG&A are managing campaigns for three individual school board candidates — Board president Monica Garcia, Board member Steve Zimmer and Antonio Sanchez.

This year, there are only three races, but overall spending (by individual campaigns, SEIU, UTLA and the Coalition) is expected to be much higher.


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