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ELECTIONS / 9TH COUNCIL DISTRICT : Personal Loans Put Lumpkin Ahead in Race for Funds


With Election Day barely more than a week away, the fight for cash seems as difficult as the battle for votes in the race among incumbent Rita Walters and two opponents for the 9th District Los Angeles City Council seat.

Campaign reports filed with the city's Ethics Commission show that Walters raised only $28,060 between March 7 and April 3, the last reporting period before the April 20 primary. The amount brings her total political contributions for the year to just $80,485.

By comparison, challenger Bob Gay raised $33,747 in the most recent period, bringing his total to only $57,947 for the year. Gay lost to Walters by just 76 votes in a special 1991 election to fill the unexpired term of her predecessor and his former boss, the late Councilman Gilbert Lindsay.

Meantime, Walters and Gay have seen their campaign coffers dwarfed by political newcomer and businessman Donald Lumpkin, who has personally loaned his campaign $165,000. While Lumpkin's finance statements were not filed by last week's deadline, his campaign manager Mark Siegel said Lumpkin's loans account for virtually all of his campaign treasury.

"I think it's been a very tough time to raise money," said Siegel. "And the fact that we have contributed through the loans has been essentially a non-issue in the district."

Siegel added: "To the degree it has kept (Lumpkin's campaign) moving, it has been a help. But it has not been a persuasive or dissuasive factor with voters."

Walters, Gay and Lumpkin are vying for a four-year term representing a high-profile district that runs from Chinatown to South-Central and includes all of Downtown, including the financial district.

The level of fund raising among the 9th District candidates stands in contrast to other city elections. In the race for the council's 13th District seat, for example, four of the leading candidates each have raised more than $100,000.

Campaign records show Walters' contributions have come from an array of City Hall insiders close to Mayor Tom Bradley, who has endorsed her reelection. The contributors include Fran Savitch, a lobbyist and former deputy mayor; Dan Garcia, an attorney and former police commissioner; Nelson Rising, a senior partner with the development firm of Maguire Thomas partners; and Betty Warner Sheinbaum, daughter of movie mogul Harry Warner and wife of Police Commissioner Stanley Sheinbaum.

Gay's contributors also include some well-known City Hall figures, such as attorney and lobbyist Doug Ring and lobbyist and former Councilman Robert Wilkinson. Also donating to Gay's cause have been unions representing the city's two largest groups of emergency personnel: the Los Angeles Police Protective League and United Firefighters of Los Angeles.

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