Lee Brand on Dec. 30 put $100,000 into his Fresno mayoral account, a contribution that will boost his cash on hand to almost $250,000.
Brand, who is starting the final year of his second term on the Fresno City Council, is one of two publicly announced candidates to be Fresno’s next mayor. The other is community activist and pastor H. Spees.
Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea also remains a possibility. He is exploring the possibility, but may also decide against it and seek reelection to his current post.
Current Mayor Ashley Swearengin reaches her term limit in December.
Brand said he wanted to put the money in before the Dec. 31 campaign fundraising deadline, so it will be reflected in his new financial report, which will be released this month.
Fresno mayoral and council candidates cannot legally start raising money until the first day to file nomination papers for the office. This year, that date is Feb. 15. Candidates, however, are free to contribute their own money or give loans to their campaigns. Many hopefuls do just that so they can get their campaigns going or to show they are viable.
Brand has a head start on Spees and, likely, any other candidate because he started by moving money left in his city council fund. That is a luxury only another Fresno City Council member would have to match Brand, and so far, no others have announced their intention to run for mayor.
On June 30, Brand had $144,288 in his mayoral campaign account. Now, add $100,000 more.
The ultimate goal, Brand said, is to raise $500,000 for the June 7 primary election.
“That’s what it is going to take to run a full comprehensive campaign in the city of Fresno,” he said. “So I’m halfway there.”
Brand thinks he can raise $250,000 from individual campaign donors to reach his financial goal.
If the mayoral race goes to a November runoff, the effort would start all over again, with a similar $500,000 goal, Brand said.
In other words, running for Fresno mayor over two elections is a million-dollar effort.