Latest campaign finance filing documents show Los Angeles City Council candidate Joe Bray-Ali does not appear to have taken a contribution hit after a swirl of news stories that raised serious doubts about his viability as a challenger in the District 1 runoff.
The mid-campaign filing, which covers April 2 to April 29, shows Bray-Ali amassed about a quarter of his $30,494 itemized campaign donations in the last few days of the month.
That timing seems to indicate some supporters didn't shy away from making donations after news broke in an April 26 article on the website LAist that Bray-Ali had participated in racist online forums. His wide-ranging comments include vulgar language and appeared to criticize transgender reassignment surgery, among other topics.
Final reports due before the May 16 runoff may give a fuller picture of the impact of the Bray-Ali revelations on his campaign.
According to the latest records, Bray-Ali received $34,635.16 in contributions, which includes about $4,100 in unitemized contributions of less than $100. The Los Angeles Ethics Commission does not collect the dates that unitemized contributions were given to the candidate.
Incumbent City Council member Gil Cedillo received nearly five times that of Bray-Ali in contributions during the reporting period. His total amounted to $168,225. Notably, Bray-Ali had many more unitemized campaign contributions from people giving in small amounts. Cedillo's total includes just $225 in donations that individuals submitted below the $100 mark.
Bray-Ali told KPCC Wednesday that the online comments, which have drawn harsh criticism and that led the Los Angeles Times and others to pull their endorsements, do not reflect his personal character.
"Why was I on this horrible website? I like to see what people I totally disagree with are saying. I am interested in people who argue with 100 percent commitment for something that I do not believe. That's what drew me there," he said. He has apologized for the comments.
Bray-Ali has also acknowledged on his Facebook page that he owed back taxes and cheated on his wife, among other revelations.
Meanwhile, Bray-Ali’s campaign announced a staffing shakeup and the on-boarding of more veteran campaign strategists. The new hires include Carlos Penilla, a 20-year campaign veteran, as campaign manager. Rohnda Ammouri takes over as Bray-Ali's communications director.
Election officials began accepting mail ballots for the May 16 election last month. The deadline to register for the election has passed. To locate your polling place and see a sample ballot, go to lavote.net/LOCATOR.
For information on the District 1 race, see KPCC's candidate survey.