Acosta raises most funds so far in 2018 race against two Democrats

An Assembly district map shows districts 38 and 36 at the top of Los Angeles County. Both districts include parts of the Santa Clarita Valley. Courtesy of California State Legislature.

While the Assembly election is not until November 2018, a cumulative total of over $316,000 has already been raised by the three candidates who have kicked off their campaigns, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Two Democrats are currently vying for the historically and currently Republican-held 38th district Assembly seat in the next election.

Incumbent Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) has raised the most funds thus far with $114,226.84.

The largest donations made to Acosta’s campaign were from The California Republican Party for $10,200 and the New Majority California PAC for $8,800. Acosta also received 14 different donations of $4,400 to his campaign.

Among familiar names in Santa Clarita, Senator Scott Wilk, Councilman Bob Kellar and city parks commissioner Victor Lindenheim have all donated to Acosta’s effort for 2018.

The smallest denomination Acosta received was for several donations of $125.

Christy Smith, Democrat candidate in the 2016 election and Newhall School District board member, will be competing for the seat for the second time.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, Smith has raised $65,378.42 thus far for her campaign.

Smith’s largest donations came from State Building and Construction Trades Council of California PAC for $8,800, UA Journeymen and Apprentices Local #250 for $4,400 and Laborers’ Local 300 for $4,400.

Multiple contributors made donations as low as $10 to Smith’s campaign.

While Smith did have several large donations, she said she was proud of all the grassroots donations made from community members who gave smaller amounts.

“Those resources are more meaningful to me,” Smith said. “That is a direct result of me going out and meeting with constituents and them investing in a candidate they believe in.”

Among Santa Clarita locals who contributed to Smith’s campaign are Democrat activist Stacy Fortner, social worker and former Democrat Assembly candidate Carole Lutness and Saugus Union School District board member Julie Olsen.

The school board member said she is on track to raise more than she did during her first campaign.

First-time Assembly candidate Ben Pak, a Porter Ranch resident and deputy to Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, will be running as a Democrat.

Pak is listed as having raised $136,716.50, but $37,000 of that was a loan from himself. Not accounting for his own funds, Pak has raised $99,716.50.

Pak’s two largest contributions came from Geneziz LLC and Jean Park, United Way’s Major Gift Manager, for $8,800 each. The deputy also received several other donations for $4,400 and $2,500.

“I am humbled by the groundswell of support I am receiving,” Pak said in a statement to The Signal. “Our politics are really toxic at the moment. People are really fired up right now. They want our leaders to be stable and forward-thinking again. I am grateful for the trust so many are putting in me.”

Donations for Pak came from multiple cities in Los Angeles County, but Robert Lee, the CEO of Elite EB-5 Solutions, LLC was the only Santa Clarita resident listed thus far.

According to Pak’s website, his top priorities are public safety, senior citizens and education. He has been a small business owner, a leader in the assisted living industry, a reserve officer for the Los Angeles Police Department and an appointee to the Affordable Housing Commission.

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