The Wall of Cash - Will the Elk Grove mayor, two city council members be unopposed in 2024?

Five months from today, voting will end for Californians and voters nationwide. Sacramento County ballots will appear in voters' mailboxes in less than four months.

The other significant date is August 9. That is the deadline for candidates to file to appear on the November ballot.

Compared to past mayoral and city council elections, when candidates for Elk Grove mayor and city council declared candidacies months before, for this election cycle, no candidates have publicly declared challenges, much less filed papers with the Elk Grove City Clerk. As of today, Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, District 1 Councilmember Darren Suen, and District 3 Councilmember Kevin Spease are unchallenged. 

In a few past Elk Grove election cycles, incumbent city council members have been unchallenged. However, there has never been an election where all city council incumbents were unopposed.

Undoubtedly, if they go unchallenged Singh-Allen, Spease, and Suen will say this is an indication residents are pleased with their performance. Maybe, but there is a more likely reason, especially in Singh-Allen and Suen's cases.

That reason is the mother milk of all politics - money. Like music producer Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, Singh-Allen and Suen have a Wall of Cash

As mayor, Singh-Allen is on a two-year election term and a non-stop fundraiser and has an overwhelming cash advantage over any fledgling challenger. Her most recent filing in January shows she has $235,006

Suen, the longest-tenured city council member among the five member body, has $128,941. Unlike the mayor, who is elected citywide, only District 1 voters elect Suen so he is in a financially secure political position.  

The case of Councilmember Spease is the most interesting. Spease, who is seeking a second four-year term for District 3, has a modest $20,876 in his campaign account, which in a by-district election, is not insurmountable for a motivated challenger who can raise some money and work their butt off.

On that basis, Spease could be challenged. However, to the best of our understanding, there is no chatter about possible challengers to the city council's sole Republican. 

According to the Elk Grove City Clerk's office, "The candidate nomination period will open July 15, 2024, and go to August 9, 2024. If no incumbents file for an office, an extension period will move the deadline for that office to August 14, 2024."

Voters may recall that four years ago, almost to the day, former Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly was expected to easily win reelection facing an under-financed challenger. Then, seemingly overnight, things quickly blew up against Ly, and he became vulnerable. 

In that environment, current mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen entered the race days before the filing deadline. Singh-Allen quickly raised cash and built a coalition that defeated Ly.

Elk Grove's 2024 political environment is sedate compared to the events in 2020, which was, in some ways, the most controversial election in the city's history. Of course, this happened during the social interaction restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Elk Grove's 2024 political environment is nothing like 2020, unforeseen events can quickly shape political campaigns.   

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels. 

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