Los Angeles County Supervisor Deane Dana has loaned $445,000 from his own campaign funds to finance his son Deane Dana III's bitterly contested Republican primary challenge to Assemblyman Gerald N. Felando (R-San Pedro).
Campaign finance reports and late-contribution telegrams filed with the secretary of state Thursday show that Dana loaned his son $395,000 through May 18 and another $50,000 after the reporting period ended last Saturday.
Felando reported raising $296,276 during the last two months, largely from Republican lawmakers and special interests, in an effort to beat back the stiffest electoral challenge of his 10-year legislative career.
The two candidates spent a combined total of more than $702,300 as of Saturday, making the 51st Assembly District race one of the most expensive in the state.
The supervisor's loans provided well over 90% of all the money raised by the younger Dana, 35, who resigned in March as assistant director of the state Department of Aging to pursue the Assembly seat. The heavily Republican district stretches along the coast from Manhattan Beach to parts of San Pedro, and includes Torrance.
Felando said the flow of money from father to son proves what he has been saying in sharply worded campaign mailers during the last two weeks. "Deane Dana, the supervisor, is trying to buy his son a job with a $1-million smear campaign," Felando charged. "They're halfway there.
"Let's face it, Deane Dana III would be a joke without his father's money."
'Every Dime Necessary'
The elder Dana, who faces only token opposition in his race for another term on the county Board of Supervisors, said he still has $700,000 on hand in his own campaign fund and he will contribute whatever it takes to get his son elected.
"This is serious business," the supervisor said. "I'll spend every dime of my campaign money if necessary."
Dean Dana III also defended the loans from his father. "It's a sad fact of politics, but any incumbent who is up in Sacramento knows you have to spend this much to get elected."
His campaign finance report shows that he received $42,186 in cash through May 18 from other sources. He spent $458,210 through the close of the reporting period.
In contrast, Felando collected $274,776 through May 18. Late contributions of $21,500 boosted his total to $296,276. He reported spending of $244,109.