Does Jim Cooper's campaign fundraising activities signal abandoning the pursuit of the one that got away?

One of the most influential figures in Elk Grove politics over the last 20-plus years has been California Assemblymember, Jim Cooper. Following his 2000 election to the Elk Grove City Council and becoming the city's first mayor upon the city's incorporation, Cooper has mentored local politicians, been a prominent voice with pro-law enforcement groups, and has sway with his large campaign accounts, has been an influential member of the California Assembly. 

Although Cooper, a retired Sacramento County Sheriff Captain with a 30-year tenure, moved from the Elk Grove City Council to the Calfornia Assembly in 2014, in 2010, he suffered the only electoral failure in his career. That year Cooper lost to Scott Jones in the race for Sacramento County Sheriff.

With the 2010 loss - the proverbial one that got away - it was no surprise last year Cooper confirmed long circulated chatter he was exploring a run for Sacramento County Sheriff, the same year that Jones has said he will vacate the seat. As such, Cooper formed an exploratory committee for the office and started fundraising.

But since that time, what has Cooper done in terms of raising cash for that position? Simply put, very little.

According to information filed with the California Secretary of State, through June 30, Cooper continued fundraising for his Assembly campaign committee and, by comparison, had minimal fundraising activities for the sheriff's committee. Cooper's Assembly committee raised $206,450 while his sheriff's committee received $5,150. 

On the surface, it seems the Assembly committee is more critical to Cooper in terms of fundraising, which could indicate where his interest lie. However, the cash balances for each account muddy the picture.

While Cooper's Assembly fund has $901,553, his sheriff's committee, notwithstanding the minimal fundraising activities this year, maintains a cash balance of $503,528 (see reports below). 

With the June 2022 primary less than 10 months away, Cooper's inaction is freezing local Democratic politicians interested in running for the Assembly seat should he pursue the sheriff's position. Among elected officials contemplating a run only if Cooper seeks the sheriff's position are Elk Grove City Council members Stephanie Nguyen and Darren Suen, neither of whom have to date formed Assembly campaign committees but have expressed interest in the Assembly seat.

With a total of $1.4 million on hand between his two funds, Cooper will continue to be a force in politics not only locally but statewide. While the cash balances in each of the committees by any measure are impressive, given the lack of fundraising activity for the sheriff's campaign, you cannot help but wonder if Cooper is abandoning the pursuit of the one that got away. 

Assembly committee

Sheriff's committee

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