Breaking down the money in the District 9 City Council race

A look at where incumbent Curren Price and challenger Dulce Vasquez are finding their campaign cash

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Money is the lifeblood of every political campaign. While the person who has the most cash does not necessarily finish first, looking at where the dollars come from can provide a window into the kind of community support candidates have. 


That includes the District 9 race, one of the eight City Council seats up for grabs in the June 7 elections. The contest has just two people on the ballot: incumbent Curren Price, who is seeking a third and final term, and first-time candidate Dulce Vasquez.


Through May 21, according to documents filed with the City Ethics Commission, the candidates had raised a total of $734,888 from donors, who can contribute up to $800. Price had 61.9% of the haul, and Vasquez, who works for Arizona State University out of its Downtown campus, claimed 38.1%.


Pie chart of money raised by Curren Price and Dulce Vasquez


The district covers the area around Arena in Downtown, and encompasses a large swath of South Los Angeles, including the neighborhoods of Exposition Park and Central-Alameda. However, most of the money given to candidates came from people who live outside CD9.


People who reside in ZIP code 90049, which includes Brentwood, have donated $14,112 to the candidates, more than has flowed from any other ZIP code in the city. The second-largest source of funds was ZIP code 90017; inhabitants in the area, which includes Downtown, gave $13,920. ZIP code 90001, which is mainly within District 9, funneled $11,798 to the candidates, the third-highest tally.


A recently launched Ethics Commission Dashboard shows that $292,105 came from outside the city of Los Angeles, but within California. Nearly $76,399 was donated by people who reside outside the state.


Altogether, at least 49.3% of the contributions in the race have come from outside the city.


Here is how candidate contributions break down.


Curren Price

Price, a former state legislator who won the council post in 2013 and was re-elected 2017, had pulled in $454,672 through May 21 (the most recent fundraising reporting deadline). According to the Ethics Commission disclosures, $238,090 has come from donors within the city. A total of $18,874 was given by people who live outside California (the source of some funds is not defined).


This means at least 52.3% of Price’s contributions were from city of Los Angeles residents.


Horizontal bar chart of where Curren Price got campaign cash


Price, like many politicians, regularly works with those trying to build housing and other projects in the community; come election time, these office holders tend to receive healthy financial support from the real estate development community. According to Ethics Commission disclosures, people who record their occupation as realtor, property developer, property manager, architect and construction have donated a total of $27,322 (the actual figure is likely higher, as financial forms rely on self-reporting of jobs). 


The legal field is another traditionally hefty source of donations for candidates. People who list their occupation as attorney, lawyer, paralegal, defender, prosecutor or judge have donated a total of $17,314 to Price.


The ZIP codes showing the most support for Price are 90017 ($10,873 in donations); 90008 (Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw; $10,565); and 90043 (View Park-Windsor Hills; $8,273).


Dulce Vasquez

On the campaign trail, Vasquez regularly discusses coming from Mexico to the United States at a young age, and being undocumented until she was a teenager. She attended Northwestern University and has a Master’s in Public Policy from UCLA. 


As of May 21, Vasquez had raised $280,211 from donors. Financial forms report $86,630 coming from people who live in Los Angeles, though the precise total from city residents is difficult to discern in her case. Ethics Commission disclosures detail nearly $45,000 in “unitemized” contributions, with no location readily identified. 


Filings show that $90,115 was given by people who live in the state but outside the city, and that another $57,475 came from outside California. This means that at least 52.7% of her donations came from outside the city of Los Angeles.


Bar chart of money source for Dulce Vasquez's campaign


The ZIP codes that have shown the greatest support for Vasquez are 90049 ($7,478 in donations); 90272 (Pacific Palisades; $7,278); and 90024 (Westwood; $5,802).


The largest portion of Vasquez’s non-California contributions came from Arizona, which is likely related to her job. She received 42 donations from people identified as Arizona residents, amounting to $11,226.


Her role in education may also account for outsized contributions from people who work in that field. According to disclosure statements, Vasquez has received $15,487 from individuals identified as professors, faculty members, teachers and principal. 


Vasquez also received significant support from people who work in the legal field. Donors in this sector contributed $20,192. 


Both candidates also qualified for city matching funds, which is provided to people running for office who secure a set amount of small donations from a baseline number of area inhabitants (in this case within District 9). Vasquez received the maximum of $161,000, while Price got $117,359.


How we did it: We examined data from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission and the Los Angeles City Campaign Contributions page through May 21, 2022. Some of the data may change and may not be fully reflected in this article.


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