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Election Campaign Information

Notes Regarding 2022 Council District Elections

  • Candidates running for Council District office in 2022 may begin soliciting and accepting contributions on January 1, 2021.
  • Candidates may not accept contributions from businesses, non-profit organizations, political committees (other than a political party committee), or other non-individual entities. A contribution from a sole proprietorship is treated as a contribution from the individual doing business as a sole proprietorship.
  • Current contribution limits for Council District elections are as follows:

    • Individual Contributions to Candidates: $600 per person per election
    • Political Party Contributions to Candidates: $11,400 per party per election
  • Contribution limits may increase in 2021 depending on changes to the Consumer Price Index.
  • A candidate may use his or her personal funds for campaign purposes without regard to the contribution limit or fundraising time restriction (after first putting the funds into a campaign checking account).
  • Refer to this Ethics Commission PDF icon fact sheet for additional information.

Notes Regarding 2020 Citywide and Council District Elections

  • Candidates who participated in the November general election may continue to collect contributions to pay debts and loans associated with the primary and general elections until May 2, 2021. These candidates must pay their vendors no later than May 2, 2021.
  • Candidates who participated in the March primary election but were not on the November ballot may no longer solicit or accept contributions. Such candidates should no longer have any vendor debt.
  • Contribution limits for the 2020 election cycle are as follows:
    • Individual Contributions to Candidates for Mayor and City Attorney: $1,150 per person per election
    • Individual Contributions to Council District Candidates: $600 per person per election
    • Political Party Contributions to Candidates for Mayor and City Attorney: $22,750 per party per election
    • Political Party Contributions to City Council Candidates: $11,400 per party per election
  • The Ethics Commission has prepared campaign manuals for candidates and committees participating in San Diego's 2020 primary and general elections. The PDF icon candidate manual is designed for candidates and their controlled committees, while the PDF icon committee manual is designed for primarily formed recipient committees, general purpose recipient committees, and independent expenditure committees interested in supporting or opposing City candidates and/or City ballot measures.
  • Candidates who will not spend $2,000 or more on their candidacies should refer to this PDF icon manual for applicable campaign finance rules.
  • Candidates may not accept contributions from businesses, non-profit organizations, political committees (other than a political party committee), or other non-individual entities. A contribution from a sole proprietorship is treated as a contribution from the individual doing business as a sole proprietorship.
  • Additional guidelines are found in the Ethics Commission's PDF icon post-election fact sheet.

Notes Regarding All City Elections

  • The Ethics Commission has prepared a webinar for City candidates and treasurers. It is designed to provide basic information regarding local campaign rules, and is intended to supplement the FPPC's webinar. Both webinars can be view on the Ethics Commission's Campaign Webinars page.
  • Candidates who raise or spend $2,000 or more in connection with their candidacy must create a campaign committee by filing a Form 410 Statement of Organization with the California Secretary of State (and a copy with the City Clerk). Refer to the above candidate manual for additional information. Candidates who will not spend $2,000 or more on their candidacies should instead refer to this PDF icon manual for applicable campaign finance rules.

  • Candidates may not accept contributions in any amount from businesses, non-profit organizations, political committees (other than a political party committee), or other non-individual entities. A contribution from a sole proprietorship is treated as a contribution from the individual doing business as a sole proprietorship.

  • Candidates and committees that have raised at least $10,000 in contributions must file their campaign statements (e.g., Forms 460, 465, 496, 497) using the City Clerk's electronic filing system. Candidates and committees below the $10,000 threshold have a choice of filing their campaign statements in paper format or electronically.

  • All candidate committees must have a treasurer. A candidate may serve as his/her own treasurer, or ask a friend or relative to volunteer as the treasurer. Candidates who plan to spend more than $10,000 are strongly encouraged to retain a professional treasurer to ensure compliance with the City's laws. The majority of candidates who spend more than $10,000 will have their campaigns audited, and may be required to pay fines if the audits reveal material violations of campaign laws. Information regarding professional campaign treasurers doing business in California can be obtained from the California Political Treasurers Association.

  • Candidates should familiarize themselves with the Ethics Commission's PDF icon Top Ten Rules for City Candidates.

 

Visit the Ethics Commission's Campaigns page for additional information regarding campaign finance rules.

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