A local race that has gone uncontested in past years is heating up this month, with heavy fundraising and spending across all five candidates vying for a seat on El Camino Healthcare District's board of directors.
Leading the pack are the two incumbents, Julia Miller and John Zoglin, who have raised tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds in the lead-up to the election next week. As of Oct. 17, Miller took a commanding lead with $43,626, followed by Zoglin at $31,923. Both have served on the board for at least eight years and have the longest tenure.
The three challengers in the race all have a background in health care fields: Dr. Carol Ann Somersille, an obstetrician/gynecologist and Mountain View resident; Dr. Jane Lombard, a cardiologist and Los Altos Hills resident; and Dr. Meghan Fraley, a psychologist and Mountain View resident. Somersille leads the challengers in campaign fundraising with $26,432, followed by Lombard at $22,299 and Fraley at $13,141, according to the latest campaign filings.
Miller's significant lead in fundraising is boosted by nearly $7,500 in unspent cash from 2016, which puts her total war chest at $44,979. She received $5,000 contributions from San Jose-based Minimally Invasive Surgical Solutions and from Towman LLC, a Los Gatos-based business owned and managed by Siavash Vossoughi. Other major donors include Palo Alto resident John Mozart ($3,000), real estate developer John Sobrato ($2,000) and Sunnyvale farmer Charlie Olson ($2,000). She also received $1,000 from San Jose real estate company Republic Urban Properties LLC.
Miller received significant support from local union groups, including the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($1,000), SEIU United Healthcare Workers' political action committee ($1,000) and the local Sheet Metal Workers union ($1,000). Current and former politicians backing Miller's include $250 each from Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, El Camino Healthcare District board member Peter Fung and state Assemblyman Evan Low. She also received $200 from former state Assemblyman Rich Gordon, now serving as the president and CEO of the California Forestry Association.
Miller also leads in campaign spending, reporting using $34,743 for mailers, slate mailers, signs and campaign consulting.
Zoglin's campaign is fueled by a $10,000 loan to himself along with more than a dozen contributions of $500 or more. The biggest donations include $2,500 from Kent McCarthy, a resident of Rancho Mirage, California and investment manager at a private investment firm, and $1,250 from the Lincoln Club of Northern California. The Lincoln club supports Republican candidates across the Bay Area, and had previously endorsed Fung's campaign as well as former Menlo Park councilman Peter Ohtaki's re-election bid in 2018.
Zoglin also received support from Los Altos residents John Challas ($999), Karthryn Han ($500) and Armar Archibold ($500). He also received $500 from Michael Brown, the director of the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Innovation Unit. Zoglin spent $24,059 as of Oct. 17, primarily on mailers to district residents.
Somersille is the top fundraising challenger so far, bumped up in large part through a $4,000 loan to herself and $5,000 each from Alexander Johnson, a media consultant, and Susan Johnson, a marketing director, both of whom are residents of Atlanta, Georgia. She also received $1,036 each from Texas physician Jeselle Matthews and Los Altos resident Robert Johnson, followed by $1,000 donations from Elene Terry of Los Altos and Cheryl Gwyn, a health care provider in Greenville, South Carolina.
Other notable contributions include $500 from the Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN), which has supported women candidates across nearly all local races, and $103 from Los Altos councilwoman Neysa Fligor, who briefly served on the health care district's board of directors. Somersille is the second-highest spender in the race at $30,181, campaign filings show, with thousands in unpaid expenses for campaign postcards.
Lombard raised $22,299 through Oct. 17, which includes $10,052 in contributions to her own campaign. Major supporters include fellow Los Altos Hills residents Alexanderia Niederauer ($2,000), Susan Mielke ($1,050) and Charles Lombard ($520). She also received $1,002 from Los Altos resident Vivi Naumouski and $1,000 from Los Altos resident Vivi Chan.
She reported spending the exact amount she had raised to date -- $22,229 -- mostly on printing and mailing costs.
Fraley's campaign raised $13,141 over the same filing period, nearly half of which came from a $6,000 donation from Alex Nunez, a candidate for the Mountain View City Council and Fraley's spouse. Larger contributions include $500 each from Scott Cisek, a Chicago resident, Cari Templeton, a Palo Alto resident, and the group Democratic Activists for Women Now.
Other notable contributions to Fraley's campaign include $250 from Mountain View Councilwoman Alison Hicks, $100 from state Senate candidate Josh Becker, $100 from Mountain View Councilman Lucas Ramirez and $100 from Mountain View Whisman School District board member Devon Conley. Though a competitor in the race, Miller has also donated $100 to Fraley's campaign.
Fraley spent $11,139 as of Oct. 17, pouring most of it into flyers, newspaper ads and filing fees.