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Board Hopefuls Go for the Gold : Politics: With three supervisor races coming up next year, several potential candidates already have raised tens of thousands of dollars to run on.


SANTA ANA — With two seats on the Orange County Board of Supervisors soon to be up for grabs by newcomers, candidates have begun raising substantial amounts of cash to support campaigns in next year's elections, reports filed Wednesday show.

Three candidates for the seat that will be vacated by retiring Board of Supervisors Chairman Harriett M. Wieder have collected tens of thousands of dollars each, presaging perhaps the most competitive of next year's three races.

In one of the board's most complete changeovers in years, two of the five supervisors' seats will be open next June because of retirements, and a third supervisor will be facing election for the first time. The elections are considered nonpartisan.

Wieder's 2nd District has attracted the most interest so far. Campaign finance statements filed with the county registrar of voters show that Huntington Beach council members Linda Moulton-Patterson and Jim Silva and local businesswoman Haydee V. Tillotson have each amassed tens of thousands of dollars.

Moulton-Patterson leads the field with $36,041 raised since Feb. 23, according to her statement. Silva reported $27,331 in contributions--including $10,000 in loans that he made to his own campaign.

Tillotson, a former county planning commissioner whom Wieder has named as her preferred successor, said she received $7,408 in contributions and had loaned her campaign an additional $27,000, for a total of $34,408.

Silva said he expects Moulton-Patterson to be the biggest money-raiser in the campaign, but believes he can sway voters in the June, 1994, election with a platform that is focused on promoting business and warding off new taxes.

"We feel it's going to be a tough, uphill fight because Linda has the ability to raise money with the Democrats, so we just have to work harder," Silva said.

Tillotson, meanwhile, said she wanted to commit $27,000 of her own money to her campaign to foster early "name recognition" but now hopes to rely almost entirely on voter contributions. She said she will present herself as a "spokeswoman" for the business community.

"It's obvious that this is going to be a very costly campaign," said Tillotson, who owns a property management firm in Huntington Beach. "The figure that's being tossed around is $500,000 (per candidate). . . . That should be enough for me to win."

Moulton-Patterson could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The sprawling southern Orange County district now represented by Supervisor Thomas F. Riley will also be open because of Riley's planned retirement. And Supervisor William G. Steiner--appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson to replace Supervisor Don R. Roth, who resigned in March amid allegations of influence peddling--will face his first election next year.

Steiner raised $56,680, the most of any candidate filing Wednesday, in his bid to retain the 4th District seat.

The former Orange councilman said he does not expect opposition in the June race, but added: "I just feel I should be prepared for any eventuality."

State Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) is considered the heavy favorite to succeed Riley in the 5th District with the backing of many in the county and state political establishments.

Bergeson officially announced her candidacy for the seat July 20, but campaign finance reports show she had already raised $4,250 for the campaign by the end of June.

Also considering a run for Riley's seat is San Juan Capistrano Councilman Gary L. Hausdorfer, who said he believes a competitive race is important in stimulating debate about South County issues.

Hausdorfer said he has not yet decided whether to run, but reported having raised $26,948 in contributions. He also reported spending more than any other potential candidate--$9,897--on printing, supplies, entertainment and other expenses.

But the largest expenditures of campaign funds came from Roth, a man no longer in government.

Roth, who pleaded guilty in March to charges of violating the state's political ethics code, reported spending $65,418 between January and June. More than $31,000 of the money went for lawyer's fees related to the influence-peddling investigation by the Orange County district attorney's office.

Roth also reported using campaign funds to pay $25,050, half of a court-ordered fine that was part of his sentence.

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