In Berkeley mayoral race, Arreguín accelerates fundraising, Capitelli maintains monetary lead

Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín are the two top contenders to replace Mayor Tom Bates. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín are the two top contenders to replace Mayor Tom Bates. Photo: Emilie Raguso

See update below.

Berkeley mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín raised almost three times as much money in the last month as his fiercest rival, Laurie Capitelli.

Arreguín raised $33,434 from Sept. 25 to Oct. 22. In that same period, Capitelli raised $11,550.

That is a reverse of the previous campaign finance reporting cycle that stretched from July 1 to Sept. 24. In that period Capitelli raised $31,288 to Arreguín’s $19,461.


The surge in donations to Arreguín’s campaign brings his total close to that of Capitelli’s, who has more $250 donors, the maximum allowed in Berkeley. Supporters have contributed $102,434 to Arreguín since 2015 and $115,555 to Capitelli in that same period.

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However, the PAC for the National Association of Realtors is backing Capitelli, and its independent expenditure committee spent $60,382 on his behalf. That spending was not coordinated with Capitelli’s campaign. The Berkeley Police Department PAC also spent $17,707 on a mailer for Capitelli.

The PAC for SEIU Local 1021 has spent $8,112 on Arreguín’s behalf.  Again, those expenditures were not coordinated with the candidate.

Councilman Kriss Worthington. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Councilman Kriss Worthington. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Kriss Worthington, another City Council member running for mayor, raised $3,517 in the latest filing period for a total of $9,321 raised. Some of his supporters include Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, who gave $250; the Public Employees Union Local 1 Political Education Committee, which gave $250; and the California Real Estate Political PAC, which gave $250.

Arreguín supporters include San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who gave $250, as did his mother, Tispora Peskin. Arreguín served years ago as an intern in Peskin’s office; Peskin was also raised in Berkeley. Ann Leonard, the executive director of Greenpeace, gave $50 to Arreguín for a total of $100 this year. Former Mayor Gus Newport and former Assemblyman Sandré Swanson also donated $250, as did Marc Weinstein, the owner of Amoeba Music. George Beier, a computer programmer who has run for City Council, gave $250. Daniella Thompson, an author and preservationist, gave $150 for a total of $250 this year. Becky O’Malley of the Daily Planet also gave $250. The California Association of Realtors PAC also gave $250. (See note below)


Some of the $250 donors to Capitelli’s campaign include Michael Lewis, the bestselling author; Janis Mitchell, the co-owner of Gordon Commercial Real Estate; Eric Panzer, who serves on the board of Livable Berkeley; Phil Kamlarz, Berkeley’s former city manager; the League of Conservation Voters PAC; the California Real Estate Political PAC; and the California Association of Realtors PAC.


Arlene Blum, executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, donated $100 to Capitelli.

Ben Gould, a graduate student running for mayor, raised $250 in the last month, bringing his total to $9,135, according to campaign finance statements. The other candidates, Guy “Mike” Lee, Bernt Wahl, Zachary RunningWolf, and Naomi D. Pete did not file any statements which means they did not raise any funds.

Update: 3:45 p.m. Jesse Arreguín contacted Berkeleyside to say that his campaign had returned the $250 donation it received from the California Association of Realtors PAC.

Updates: 10/31: The Berkeley Police Association PAC spent $16,707 on a mailer in support of Laurie Capitelli’s campaign for mayor, according to campaign finance statements filed today.