City Councilmember Ariel Kelley is trying to take the “McGuire leap” from Healdsburg city politics to California state politics in the election this year. The latest issue of the Healdsburg Tribune features a a deep dive into all the campaign donations that Kelley has received so far, in her race for Jim Wood’s Assembly seat — along with the six other candidates she’s up against. The top three candidates with the most money to spend are Arcata college professor Rusty Hicks, the chairman of the California Democratic Party and Wood’s favorite to replace him; Santa Rosa politician Chris Rogers, who used to work for McGuire and has his endorsement; and Kelley, who claims to have gotten “more in-district contributions (516) than any other candidate has received in contributions total.” She has also received $150,000 from herself, the Tribune reports. And according to the Press Democrat, local real-estate developer Bill Gallaher — “one of Sonoma County’s biggest political mega donors” — gave $50,000 to a “local political action committee” supporting Kelley, although her people tell the PD “they had no prior knowledge” he would do this. Another thing it looks like Kelley’s campaign is distancing itself from is a smear-campaign mailer going around that paints top competitor Rusty Hicks as an L.A. boy and wine country “tourist” who just moved here two years ago. The mailer says on the back that it’s paid for by a group calling itself “North Coast Neighbors Supporting Ariel Kelley” — but that it’s “not authorized by any candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.” Dramaaa… (Source: Healdsburg Tribune & Press Democrat; paywall)

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Simone Wilson was born and raised in Healdsburg, CA, where she was the editor of the Healdsburg High School Hound's Bark. She has since worked as a local journalist for publications in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City and the Middle East. Simone is now a senior product manager and staff writer for the Healdsburg Tribune.


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