LONG BEACH — After raising more than twice as much campaign money as any previous candidate in the city's history, Mayor Ernie Kell is digging into his own pockets.
Kell has lent his campaign $150,000 for the final stretch before the June 7 election, according to campaign finance reports released last week.
The loan surpasses the salary that the mayor will draw if elected for the two-year term. The job pays $67,500 a year.
Total contributions, including Kell's personal loan, now top $875,000 for all city candidates since fund raising began last year.
Kell has raised $519,836, including his loan, while Councilwoman Jan Hall, his opponent in the mayoral race, has garnered $311,090.
In the 8th District council race, real estate broker Pat Schauer powered ahead of drilling company executive Jeff Kellogg on the strength of a hefty $18,500 loan from Assemblyman Dave Elder (D-Long Beach).
Kellogg collected $14,013 during the period, compared to Schauer's $30,773, including the loan.
The previous record was the roughly $250,000 raised by Hall and dentist Jim Serles in their battle for the 3rd District council seat two years ago.
Hall won that race, but now she is so strapped for cash that she has dismissed paid consultants and is personally directing her volunteer campaign.
She said, however, that she is not impressed with Kell's bankroll.
"I don't believe the voters are willing to sell out just because he's got that much money," Hall said.
Kell reported having $13,876 on hand before the loan, compared to Hall's $9,022, on May 21, when the two-month reporting period closed. In addition, Hall had a campaign debt of $78,209.
Kell, a retired developer and millionaire, said when he officially kicked off his campaign for mayor that he had put money into his past campaigns for the City Council and might have to contribute to his own race for mayor.
Kell spokesman Jeffrey Adler said, however, that the loan was simply meant to keep the campaign going between fund-raising events. He predicted that Kell will be paid back for a large portion of his loan.
A spaghetti feed fund-raiser attracted 250 people last Monday at a union hall and a $250-a-plate bash is planned Wednesday at the Viscount Hotel, Adler said.
"The mayor has been so heartened by the support he has gotten from contributors of all sizes, he felt no qualms about making the same kind of commitment to his campaign," he said.