Entering the crucial last month before the Nov. 8 runoff election for the District 6 seat on the Fresno City Council, Garry Bredefeld has an 11-to-1 advantage in available cash over opponent Jeremy Pearce – and he’s not afraid to use it.
Bredefeld, a clinical psychologist, and Pearce, an Elvis Presley tribute entertainer, were the two top vote-getters from a four-person field in the June primary election to represent northeast Fresno.
Bredefeld, who held the District 6 seat from 1997 through 2000, fell short of an outright majority, forcing him into a runoff with Pearce. The two are running to replace Lee Brand, who has reached his two-term limit and is running for mayor.
Campaign finance disclosure forms filed by the candidates last week show that as of Sept. 24, Bredefeld had $166,520 in the bank, while Pearce had $14,615. The disclosures also indicate that Pearce had about $4,000 in outstanding campaign bills to be paid.
When you have an 11-to-1 advantage, that doesn’t happen by chance. It shows we have broad-based support throughout the entire community.
Garry Bredefeld, Fresno City Council District 6 candidate
And it looks like Bredefeld is putting that money to use in these last few weeks, ordering time on local television stations for a slew of 30-second spots through Nov. 8.
Public-inspection documents posted online with the Federal Communications Commission by local stations show that Bredefeld has booked almost 120 slots on ABC30 at a cost of more than $21,400, and another 64 slots on FOX26 at a cost of nearly $19,000. Most of those commercials will air during the stations’ morning and evening news shows.
“When you have an 11-to-1 advantage, that doesn’t happen by chance,” Bredefeld said Tuesday. “It shows we have broad-based support throughout the entire community. … And it allows us the opportunity to get our positive message out about improvements we want to make to the entire city, not only District 6.”
No filings were available online as of Tuesday from sister stations KSEE24 and CBS47, but Bredefeld said he will be running ads on those stations too, as well as newspaper and radio ads. He added that his campaign is also using printed fliers and yard signs, as is Pearce. “We want to reach as many people as we can.”
Since Jan. 1, Bredefeld has reported raising $283,361, including more than $148,000 in contributions from July 1 through Sept. 24. Pearce’s year-to-date total fundraising is about $88,000, including about $23,600 since July 1. Those fundraising figures don’t include loans by the candidates to their own campaign coffers: $30,000 by Bredefeld and $8,000 by Pearce.
“We had trouble raising money coming out of the primary; that’s what happens when your opponent gets almost 49 percent,” Pearce said this week. “We have to make sure to use every single dime efficiently.”
We’re not wasting a dime. The people who need to know about our campaign will, but we’re not wasting money on people who can’t vote for us.
Jeremy Pearce, Fresno City Council District 6 candidate
He acknowledged Bredefeld’s cash advantage and ability to buy advertising and TV airtime. “It would be nice, but you’re paying for a whole lot of people who can’t vote for you to see it,” Pearce said of TV commercials.
Instead, he is relying on campaign volunteers to walk neighborhoods in District 6 to drop fliers at doorsteps of only registered voters rather than spending as much as 50 cents apiece to send them through the mail. “We’re not wasting a dime. The people who need to know about our campaign will, but we’re not wasting money on people who can’t vote for us.”
“We’re delivering just as many pieces as we would have (through the mail), but we just have to get them out in a different way.”
Bredefeld has been able to outspend Pearce in both the primary and general election campaigns. From January through June, the Bredefeld campaign spent $127,260, and added about $20,400 since July 1. Pearce’s campaign has spent a total of almost $80,000 since January 1, including almost $11,000 since July 1.
Keys to Nov. 8 general election
Last day to register: Monday, Oct. 24
Vote by mail: Period to vote opens Monday, Oct. 10
Last day to request vote-by-mail ballot: Tuesday, Nov. 1
Voter Guide: Learn more about the candidates by checking out The Bee’s online voter guide, fblinks.com/vguide
Candidates: Let us know if you haven’t yet responded to be included in the Voter Guide – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org attention Doug Beeman