As the Nov. 4 election quickly approaches, local political campaigns have been ramping up their efforts to reach voters before they make their final decision.

Thursday marked the final reporting period for campaign finances before Election Day.

The heated tug-of-war over Measure S pulls onward with both sides spending thousands of dollars on signs and direct mail efforts. If approved by a majority of voters, Measure S would increase Hanford’s sales tax rate by 1 cent.

“Support Hanford Public Safety – Yes on S,” the committee in support of the measure, raised nearly $7,000 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 18, bringing its fundraising total to $20,749. To date, the “Yes on S” committee has spent more than $17,000 on signs, direct mail materials and some administrative costs. The group has received most of its financial support from the Hanford Police Officers Association and the Hanford Professional Fire Fighters Local 3898.

The general sales tax measure has been touted as a way to beef up the city’s police and fire departments, as well as other city services including the maintenance of parks and streets. Among the proposed spending is the construction of a new police station, two new fire stations and the hiring of additional police officers and firefighters.

The group opposing Measure S has changed its name from “Hanford Now” to “Hanford Now, Committee to Oppose Measure S.” As of Oct. 18, the group had collected a total of $6,094 and spent about $5,200. Since Oct.1, Hanford Now’s only expenses have consisted of about $700 for printed campaign materials.

In the races for three seats on the Hanford City Council, Area E candidate Justin Mendes has by far made the biggest showing in terms of financial support and campaign strategy.

As of Thursday, Mendes had raised more than $20,000 for his campaign. Although the total is only about $1,600 more than he reported at the end of September, Mendes has spent more than $13,000 since Oct. 1. The majority of those funds have been used for direct mail material.

Mendes is running against businessman Dave Thomas, who previously served on the council from 2006 to 2010. Thomas meanwhile submitted a Form 470, a short form stating he doesn't expect to raise or spend more than $1,000 for his campaign.

State campaign finance law doesn't require candidates to provide a detailed report if contributions and expenses are less than $1,000.

Area A candidate Tyler Vierra reported that, as of Thursday, he had raised a total of $278 and spent $270.98. All of those expenses went to Signs on the Cheap, a website that sells inexpensive signs.

Vierra’s opponent, former three-term council member Dave Ayers, filed the short form.

Both candidates in Area D, incumbent Councilman Lou Martinez and businessman Francisco Ramirez, reported that they will neither spend nor raise more than $1,000 for their campaigns.

The races for two at-large seats on the Lemoore City Council have remained stagnant. 

Michael Montalbano, a field representative for the Boeing Company, raised $900 total. Most of Montalbano's campaign has been funded through $1,500 of his own money.

Thirty-year California Highway Patrol veteran Ray Madrigal is still leading with the most contributions, raking in $6,974 as of Oct. 18. Agribusiness manager Jeff Chedester has raised about $2,700.

College instructor Holly Blair received just $365 in  contributions, with an additional $825 in loans from her mother-in-law and a close friend.

Incumbent candidate Willard Rodarmel didn't file a new pre-election statement as he has not raised or spent more than $1,000 on his campaign.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2458 or meiman@HanfordSentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeE_HS.


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