A quick perusal of coverage of the AD-50 race between (among others) activist and non-profit leader Torie Osborn and
South Bay Beverly Hills Assemblymember Betsy Butler would give you the idea, despite arguments of Butler’s supporters to the contrary, that the race is a battle between the grassroots activists of the district who are supporting Osborn (as reflected by the local Democratic clubs that have endorsed her) vs. the Sacramento machine (as reflected by the institutional endorsements Betsy has received, with varying degrees of Sacramento assistance).
Well, if the fundraising numbers are any indication, that narrative is spot on. From a release send out by Osborn’s consultant:
According to recent fundraising reports filed with the California Secretary of State, Osborn has raised $803,753 from 3,626 individual donations. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the donations were $100 or less, considered a sign of grassroots support and ability to mobilize new voters into the political process.
Osborn dwarfs Butler in those small individual donations. Osborn has received 2,481 small donations, while Butler pulled in a mere 123 such donations. In another indication of broad grassroots support, 1,488 donations were made online to Osborn’s campaign, totaling $251,503, vs. 119 to Butler for $41,285.
Butler, a lawmaker who represents the South Bay and moved to Beverly Hills to run for this seat, trailed Osborn miserably in raising local money and showing support from the 50th District. Osborn raked in 1,658 contributions, totaling $403,430 from the new district. Butler drew less than ten percent of that – 107 contributions totaling $59,463.
Let’s some this up nicely. Osborn has over 20 times as many small-dollar contributions, and about 15 times as many in-district contributions. So where’s Butler’s money coming from? The answer is obvious:
Torie Osborn has received 9 contributions from Sacramento totaling $8,625. Betsy Butler has received 142 contributions just from Sacramento that come to $291,044.
And there you have it. There could be no clearer indication. Torie Osborn is looking to represent Assembly District 50 in Sacramento. Betsy Butler is looking to represent Sacramento in Assembly District 50.
One would have thought that Sacramento would have looked at the grassroots fundraising prowess of Torie Osborn and sought to elevate that and channel that into productive, progressive change. Instead, protecting incumbents is such a priority that they’re willing to throw not just the kitchen sink, but everything else in the entire house, into AD-50 just to try to defeat her.