The first and second place winners in the race for the two open seats on the Hesperia Unified School District school board were separated by 1,563 votes. But the gap on how much they spent to get there was much larger: Second-place winner Anthony Riley spent more than eight times as much as first-place winner Chris Bentley.
The board member's final spending totals were revealed in campaign finance disclosure forms released the first week of February. State law requires any candidate who has raised or spent more than $1,000 must file California Form 460, the Recipient Committee Campaign Statement. Forms that had to be postmarked by February 2 covered the period between October 19 and the end of 2008.
In the last weeks of the campaign, Riley spent $30,532 to pull away from fellow candidate Chris Lindsay -- whom he beat by 160 votes, once all votes were counted -- and raised an additional $20,956. His total campaign cost $86,760.
Most of those additional funds came in the form of non-monetary contributions from HEAPAC -- the Hesperia Teaches Association's political action committee (created back when their name was the Hesperia Education Association) -- including precinct walking, phone banks, automated phone calls, campaign mailers and more.
Actual cash donations to Riley were small -- none of them larger than $250 -- and the only large loan he received was from Hesperia High School's piano teacher, Surajeet Chatterji, who loaned Riley $995.
Like his friend Mark Kirk, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Hesperia City Council in the 2008 election, Riley has more fund-raising to do: As of February 2, his campaign committee remains $13,614 in debt.
At the other end of the financial spectrum, Bentley spent a total of $10,536 in the course of his campaign, and only $285 of it during the last two weeks of the campaign. Over the course of the campaign, he raised $14,286 -- although "raised" is a bit misleading, as Bentley's contributions came from Bentley's own bank account -- with no additional funds raised during the final days of the election.
Candidate Bruce Henson previously filed a 470 form, on which he declared that he would raise and spend less than $1,000 on his campaign.
Lindsay ended up in third place in a race where only the top two contestants take home medals, but it was a down-to-the-wire finish (Lindsay was briefly ahead of Riley in early returns) and the race cost him a total of $21,340, $5,451 of it in the final days of the campaign. During that same period, he raised an additional $5,850, bringing his entire fund-raising to $18,529.
His biggest contribution, $5,000, came from the Inland Empire political action committee, based out of Rancho Cucamonga.
Like Riley, Lindsay has more fund-raising to do: His campaign remains $13,532 in debt.
Frank Rich raised $1,180 during the last days of his campaign, bringing his total fund-raising throughout the campaign to $3,552. He spent $1,270 during the same period, bringing his total spending to $3,469.
The political wing of the Hesperia teachers union spent a total of $57,920 during the 2008 campaign season, $21,031 of it in the last two weeks of the campaign. They raised no money during the same period.
Swanson, Hesperia Schools First
According to candidate Eric Swanson, his final financial disclosure forms had not been turned into the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters as of Friday morning.
Likewise, as of Friday morning, no 460 form for the Hesperia Schools First political action committee, which represents the local chapter of California School Employees Association (the non-teacher, non-management employees of the HUSD) has been received by the registrar's office, and there has been no reply to an inquiry by the Star to the union's leadership.
This story will be updated on HesperiaStar.com when the forms are made available.
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at email@example.com.