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By Shawn Raymundo
This past year’s city council race is barely in the rear view mirror, but one incumbent has already begun gearing up for a 2020 run.
Using the committee name “Farias for City Council 2020,” Councilmember Sergio Farias, who represents District 1 and was first elected to the council in 2016, recently filed a campaign finance disclosure with the city clerk’s office.
“I named it 2020 because, yeah, I have every intention of running,” Farias told The Capistrano Dispatch in a phone interview. Farias noted that while he hasn’t officially announced his bid for re-election, he later reaffirmed that “unless something changes, I anticipate running for another four-year term.”
Though he has started raising funds for a 2020 campaign, he said he’s currently focused on his next two years in office.
“It’s going to be a productive two years, and that’s what I’m looking at right now — not looking at any upcoming election,” he said.
According to his most recent campaign finance statement, Farias currently has nearly $1,500 in his war chest. To date, he has raised nearly $8,200 in donations to his campaign and has spent $6,805.
When running for city council seats in California, candidates are required to periodically submit campaign finance disclosures listing contributions received and expenditures made, if the dollar amount meets a certain threshold. Candidates and their committees who raised or spent—or intend to raise or spend—$2,000 or more during a calendar year in connection with election to office or holding office must submit a Form 460.
Farias’ Form 460, which covers the period from July 1 to Dec. 31, shows that of the $4,156 he spent during that period, $3,613 paid for campaign literature and mailings.
Farias explained that he used the money to send out Christmas card mailers to registered voters in District 1. The cards, he said, weren’t political and were meant to connect with the constituents in his district.
During the same reporting period, Farias used $330 from his coffers to contribute to Democratic candidates in last year’s elections. Last August, Farias donated $110 each to the campaigns of Edward Hernandez for California’s lieutenant governor, Marggie Castellanos, who ran for California State Senate, and Congressman Mike Levin, who now represents California’s 49th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Following the election this past November, Levin’s committee for Congress reportedly returned the favor, contributing $110 to Farias’ 2020 campaign, according to the disclosure.
Farias said he has plans to hold a town hall meeting this spring, but nothing has been finalized.