Elections: Biggest donors, who's raised the most and where funds are being spent throughout the valley

Palm Springs Desert Sun

City council candidates throughout the Coachella Valley have submitted their first round of campaign finance filings.

While the La Quinta City Council candidates are headed into a heated race, with five candidates vying for two seats, the mayoral seat is uncontested. Despite this, Mayor Linda Evans is the candidate to have raised the most money. More than two weeks after Evans found out she had no challengers, she threw herself a campaign kick-off party at The Grill on Main Street in La Quinta, complete with a photo booth, for a total of $2,175. 

Evans said she began planning her campaign well in advance of the candidate qualifying period, “hence the need for updating information/print materials.” Evans said she had also already planned her kick-off event prior to learning she was running unopposed. As far as why people keep donating to her campaign, she said it’s because they still want to show support.

Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center director, said candidates are typically given broad leeway to use campaign funds.

“The only thing they can’t convert campaign funds to is personal use, so you can’t pay rent or mortgage or take a family trip to Disneyland,” Fischer said. “Though there could be questions about whether a candidate running unopposed needs a campaign kick-off party, there very well may be legitimate justifications for that event. Also, it doesn’t seem like (Evans’ party) was that extravagant since it was only a couple thousand dollars.”

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