Big money player in Elk Grove lining up with one candidate, but will an unsolicited endorsement be a jinx?




The old saying that money talks and bull walks is one of those statements that are relevant, especially in politics. Applying that axiom to Elk Grove politics translates roughly to if you are a developer and want an unquestioned vote for your project, you better get in the right line with some cash in hand.

In an endorsement of her upstate candidacy, Bobbie Singh-Allen has received an 11th-hour campaign contribution from a developer who has gained influence in Elk Grove in recent years. That developer is Kamilos Companies. 

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According to financial disclosures filed on October 27, the Kamilos organization donated $5,000 to Singh-Allen's campaign. 

What makes Kamilos' donation significant, when viewed in Elk Grove's 20-year history of campaign financing, real estate developers rarely donate to candidates challenging incumbents. Even though Elk Grove City Councilmembers may have different party affiliations or philosophical differences on a narrow range of issues, over the 20 years, they rarely saw a development proposal they haven't fallen in love with.

A prime example of the pragmatism of donations from the developer class is the 2008 election, where incumbent councilmember Mike Leary was challenged by Steve Detrick. Even though Leary was carrying a load of baggage and had an unsavory reputation, developers financially supported him because he had a track record and was a reliable vote. Conversely, Detrick was not in office and was something of an unknown.

Why did Kamilos donate to Singh-Allen? Given the donation was made about a week before the end of voting, does he have polling information favorable to Singh-Allen and wants to make sure she too falls in love with his Elk Grove projects?

Mr. Kamilios did not return a phone call inquiring why he donated $5,000 to Singh-Allen, so we cannot ascertain his motivations. Nonetheless, given the history of the developer class to not financially support challengers, this could be a favorable indicator of Singh-Allen's electoral prospects.

While the Kamilos donation is a positive development for Singh-Allen, a reader alerted us to another indicator that might be unfavorable to her prospects. That indicator is what appears to be an unsolicited endorsement of Singh-Allen's candidacy.

A video endorsement was posted yesterday by former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis. A visit to Singh-Allen's campaign social media page shows over two dozen videos of Elk Grove voters endorsing her candidacy, but conspicuously missing was Davis' proclamation.

Under normal circumstances, the endorsement of a former mayor and councilmember would be gold. Singh-Allen has not seen reason to post his video to her campaign page, and for probably good reason.

Davis left office under still murky reason's in 2016, and that action opened up the candidacy of Steve Ly, who easily won a three-way race. Plus, Davis' reputation since leaving office hasn't exactly been sterling. 

Furthermore, perhaps the Singh-Allen brain trust remembers what happened the last time Davis made a mayoral endorsement. That was in 2018, and Davis' endorsement might have jinxed that candidate's prospects.

Voters will recall Davis supported Ly in 2016, but in the last two weeks of the 2018 mayoral race, Davis placed a robocall and endorsed Elk Grove Councilmember Darren Suen. While Suen's effort to unseat Ly failed mostly because of his uninspired campaign, it seems Davis' support didn't help.

So as the election winds down, the Singh-Allen team probably made a wise decision to put distance between themselves and the former mayor lest they suffer the Davis jinx. 

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