Saylor Becomes First to Reject IE Support for His Campaign

Don Saylor - courtesy photo
Don Saylor – courtesy photo

While Cecilia Aguiar-Curry has disputed characterizations of her campaign being beholden to oil interests and fought back against accusations that she supported fracking, she has never repudiated the groups that are bankrolling an independent expenditure campaign that represents the bulk of the money on her behalf.

On the other hand, Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor, who was late to the fray in criticizing the IEs, has become the first candidate to reject support of an independent expenditure campaign.

Over the weekend, FairPAC reported spending $28,456.71 on independent expenditures supporting Saylor. To date, over $2 million in outside spending has been poured into Assembly District 4 to support the other candidates in the race.

On Tuesday, Mr. Saylor “rejected the support of the independent expenditure committee FairPAC that spent $28,456.71 to support his candidacy over the weekend.”

He called on the other candidates in the race to denounce the support they’ve received from outside spending.

Don Saylor said in a statement in a press release on Tuesday, “I thoroughly reject the independent expenditure support I’ve received from FairPAC. In the Assembly, I will work to reform California’s campaign finance system by advancing more stringent regulations on outside spending. There’s a reason for campaign contribution limits and open reporting. The limits ensure the public can follow the money and nobody can buy the election.”

Me. Saylor continued, “Today, I’m asking Dan Wolk and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry to join me in denouncing the independent expenditure support they have received in this race. I urge my fellow candidates to take a stand and speak out against Big Money in politics.”

Yolo County Supervisor and former Davis Mayor Don Saylor had stayed out of the fray, but, last week, Don Saylor’s campaign issued a press release of its own, denouncing outside spending in the Assembly campaign “Over the weekend, JobsPAC and the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee spent $100,600 to support Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and a group called Keep Californians Working has sent a negative flyer attacking Dan Wolk.  In addition, the independent expenditure committee, Coalition for a Healthy Community Supporting Wolk and Opposing Aguiar-Curry for Assembly 2016, spent $40,188.67 to oppose Curry.  Last week, Wolk decried outside spending in Assembly District 4 by launching a video that attacked Curry.”

Supervisor Saylor said, “It is disappointing to see Big Money play such a large role in our elections and to see this attack mentality emerging in this race.  It is clear which candidates the lobbyists and special interests feel align with their interests.  I’m the candidate For the People.  When I get to the State Capitol, I will not have to answer to Big Oil, Big Tobacco, or special interests groups that have poured in soft money to support the other candidates.

“In the Assembly, I will advocate for reforms of California’s campaign finance system that will regulate outside spending. There are good reasons to cap financial contributions to election campaigns. The independent expenditures supporting candidates for office serve as a vehicle for big corporations and interest groups to get around normal contribution limits for individual donors.”

Mr. Saylor continued, “Big Money has a chilling effect on our political process.  Just a few months ago – after reportedly feeling pressure from Big Soda – candidate Dan Wolk voted against placing a sugar-sweetened tax on the ballot that would have generated much needed revenue for healthy living programs.”

He added, “Candidate Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s campaign has benefited from well over a million dollars in outside spending, paid for by Big Oil, Big Tobacco and other deep pocket interest groups and corporations.  In the Assembly, I will work to level the playing field and get Big Money out of politics.”

Independent expenditure money started pouring into the race for Dan Wolk this weekend for the first time.  The Coalition for a Healthy Community reported spending $20,229 in support of Mayor Dan Wolk’s campaign over the weekend, in addition to $40,000 for mailers opposing Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. That  coalition is funded with $50,000 from the California Nurses Association and $53,500 from Consumer Attorneys of California.

In May, Dan Wolk’s Assembly campaign released a statement, “Oil giants, including Chevron, Valero and Tesoro have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s bid for Assembly District 4 over the last two weeks, according to state campaign finance filings. These independent expenditures came as Aguiar-Curry said at a League of Women Voters forum in Woodland that the ‘jury’s still out’ on the practice of fracking.”

The statement continues, “The Coalition To Restore California’s Middle Class has spent $325,000, mostly on cable television advertising in the 4th Assembly District. The group is funded entirely by large oil companies. Overall, outside groups, including groups largely funded by big oil and tobacco companies, have spent over $1 million supporting Aguiar-Curry. A full list of the expenditures and funders can be found below.

“The oil companies’ expenditures for Aguiar-Curry began on May 5, the day after she said at a League of Women Voters forum in Woodland that she felt ‘the jury is still out’ on fracking. Oil companies have heavily lobbied the legislature for relaxed regulations on the practice of fracking, which many scientists believe is environmentally dangerous.”

Davis Mayor Dan Wolk immediately criticized Aguiar-Curry’s statement about fracking at the forum and pointed out the dangers for our state and region. “A video of the exchange can be found at,” his campaign claims.

“Big oil is trying to buy a seat in the Assembly for their chosen candidate, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, because she has shown she will not resist their attempts to hurt our environment. I won’t stand for that,” said Dan Wolk in a statement. “I have spent my career taking on special interests like big oil and I will continue to fight for our environment in the Assembly.”

Mr. Wolk, the release states, “also supports an oil severance tax as a means of funding important state programs, like transportation, schools and health care. California is the only major oil-producing state in the country without such a tax. He has built a strong environmental record as Mayor of Davis, which earned him the endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters, the environmental movement’s political arm, and environmental leaders like Senator Fran Pavley.”

However, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry immediately shot back, stating, “I responded directly to my opponent regarding an edited video posted on his Facebook page about my position on fracking. I’ve included a snapshot of that comment, as it was taken down by his campaign after it was well received by the public and supporters.”

The screen shot indicates, “The brief, edited clip you reference above is not an accurate representation of my feelings about fracking.”

Ms. Aguiar-Curry notes that “the jury is still out” statement was in fact “in reference to finding more information in regard to this practice.”

She says, “As I have stated in multiple endorsement surveys, and in other forums where you were present, I support a moratorium on fracking because of serious concerns that have been raised about the impact on the environment.”

She states that her direct quote to the Sierra Club in March was, “I believe that a moratorium on fracking would be prudent so we can study its overall impacts to our environment.”

To date, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry has never repudiated the IEs or ask them to stop funding a campaign on her behalf.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. skeptical

    Curry must be way out front in the polls.  How else can you explain this piling on? 
    Where is the criticism of Dan Wolk for the sleazy anti-Curry mailer sent by his campaign?  Dan’s hypocrisy is a bit much.  He believes it is acceptable that he benefit from independent expenditures but it is wrong for anyone else to do so.  He took the same stance two years ago.
    As for Saylor, it is much easier to be a high minded candidate when running in fourth place.  So, why doesn’t Don denounce the fraudulent claims put forth by Dan Wolk and his independent expenditure club? 

    1. OutsideThought

      I’m with you on this. I find it fascinating that Dan Wolk produced a mailer that was anti-Curry with his own campaign funds. Her mailers, paid for by Cecilia for Assembly, have been about promoting herself, telling her story, showing what she’s done for her community and the region. I also received a letter from her daughters near Mother’s Day which was also paid for by her own campaign.

      The Wolk’s are scrambling. They have nothing against her outside of IE monies from oil and tobacco. Should we be reminded that he too, could have been the guy who they got behind, but didn’t? What would he have done then? Also, the guy (and his Mother) openly support Bill Dodd. Last time I checked he was supported by the IE’s they are crying about against Aguiar-Curry. Pick a lane and have a backbone!

      Speaking of scrambling; Lois Wolk’s Chief of Staff went on Curry’s Assembly page last night and went on a rant. Classy move by this family again.

      Dan flip flops; special interests tackled him during the Davis soda tax nightmare…does anyone remember that? Or how about his vote to raise water rates by 300%? Fire safety vote? Garbage rate increase?

      Let’s remember this; Davis is talking about oil…while the rest of the region is has been silent. Radio ads, TV commercials and billboard media are behind Aguiar-Curry; all of which is viewed and can’t be thrown away in the junk mail.

      Burning out on the chatter about IE’s. Until Dan comes after Aguiar-Curry with something of substance-he’s dead in the water.

      Oh, and Don Saylor…don’t start me. He let a local farming family get in his ear, took money from them for his campaign, and allowed discussion into the Supervisors forum to consider a stop to “agri-tourism” in our county. Yeah, that’s the perfect guy for District 4.

      I’m going with Aguiar-Curry; simply for the fact that she get’s things done. (And have you been to Winters lately? It’s a destination-not a cluster like Dan’s Davis.)

      1. SODA

        Agree with much of what you say about Dan “outside”. I don’t feel he was ready for prime time 2 yrs ago but had the last 2 yrs to wow us as mayor. Very disappointing, few comments, often ill  prepared for CC, etc etc. the latest just convince me more strangely that he is not my candidate.

  2. The Pugilist

    Skeptical: “Curry must be way out front in the polls.  How else can you explain this piling on? ”

    You’re not thinking about the strategic factors here.

    My guess is that it’s Wolk, Charlie, Cecilia, Don

    The first factor is that if you’re Wolk, you want Charlie to finish second, not Cecilia because if Charlie finishes second, you’ve won given the partisan advantage.  If Cecilia finishes second you have a huge dogfight in November – so it’s in your interest to attack Cecilia

    Charlie is not a factor here because he’s not really running a campaign

    Cecilia wants to finish in the top two, doesn’t care against whom

    Don needs to finish in the top two, Cecilia is ahead of her and his main competitor.  Going after Schaupp isn’t going to help him, so he needs to raise his profile while lowering Cecilia’s

    Hence Dan and Don are going after Cecilia.

  3. OutsideThought

    My thoughts…

    The only thing Charlie has going for him is the “R” next to his name. I’m disappointed that the Republican’s can’t find a leader with a pulse to toss into a race for District 4.  You said it best, “Charlie isn’t a factor here because he’s not really running a campaign.” If he was, don’t we all think oil and tobacco would come running for their candidate with the “R” beside him?

    Dan Wolk can’t answer a question without ending his answer with name-dropping who he’s endorsed by. He should end everything with “Endorsed by-and paid for by- Lois Wolk and her cast of characters.” He’s been ill prepared and an ineffective leader. What has he done outside of his day job and showing up for CC meetings?

    Don Saylor has rubbed so many people in Davis the wrong way; he scrambles throughout the area to find people to latch onto. Hence, we don’t see him in our city limits.

    As for Cecilia, has anyone NOT seen her at the Davis Farmers Market? She’s stood up to the game Dan Wolk has played the right way. Showing her face, talking with voters, addressing issues head on. Rumor has it she’s dominating the Napa Valley and Lake County area-two places Davis forgets about. Looks like both Dan and Don are scrambling as of late to make it over Highway 12 in a last minute effort to meet voters. (Social media reference).

    Dan Wolk needs to work on his resume and track record. There are many people in Davis that will go towards a Winters candidate happily.  I’ve asked them. The difference being Cecilia’s supporters don’t write letters to the editor to make their voice heard. They will be the ones that actually go out and vote. The silent majority…

    I predict a Charlie/Cecilia ending. I also predict a very upset Dan Wolk.


  4. Misanthrop

    “Speaking of scrambling; Lois Wolk’s Chief of Staff went on Curry’s Assembly page last night and went on a rant. Classy move by this family again.”

    How do you know that? My guess is you are involved in Aguiar-Curry’s campaign? Why else would you be following her Facebook page?

    1. OutsideThought

      Misanthrop: I’m glad you asked.

      I follow all the candidates. If you log into Facebook, search Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for Assembly, you will see that not only does she have a following-she has people who engage in her posts. It’s impressive. If this were up to social media-the competition would be crushed. Check her “likes’ versus the others.

      If you google search Lois’ Chief of Staff-his name appears-and others quickly noticed who he was out and called him out specifically. The joke was on him.

      Lois probably didn’t enjoy her cup of coffee this morning; that’s all.


  5. Misanthrop

    “Where is the criticism of Dan Wolk for the sleazy anti-Curry mailer sent by his campaign?  Dan’s hypocrisy is a bit much.”

    At least Dan sent it out under his own name and on his own dime trying to fight back against the millions poured in by the oil train advocates and the tobacco merchants of death.  There is a reason these industries don’t want Dan in the legislature and that alone should be reason enough to support Dan with your vote.

  6. Charlie_Schaupp

    Gents, remember back about 2 months ago.   I found out, via the rumor mill at State GOP Convention that $300K in IE’s would were scheduled on Aguiar-Curry…I also stated that the word was they would keep spending money until she is in the top two.   Now the spending is $1.8 Million and they are still spending.  That should tell you something.

    Consider this– The market and mail boxes are saturated with pro Aguiar-Curry items…and they have run poll after poll.  So, now if the markets saturated and if the polling shows she is may not be in the  top two….What do you do?   Possible answer: You get another IE group to start spending to support Saylor to pull votes from the endorsed Democratic candidate.   If they can’t add anymore to Cecilia’s polling totals…then find a way to take away votes from Wolk’s polling totals.   This is not rocket science.   It is always a mistake to underestimate the lengths lobbyist will go to achieve their aims.  You need to remember, we ‘candidates’ cannot collude with these lobbyists.  But nothing stops them from ‘colluding’ with each other.

    Furthermore, per the speculation above, my campaign is going exactly as I forecasted and planned.  However, I do worry Democratic voter  turn-out will be up and GOP turn-out down since the battle in the primary for President is now on the Democrat side…rather than the GOP.   That may affect my chance to get into the fall election.  But that’s politics. It’s up to the voters now.   Semper Fi, Charlie


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