Election Campaign Information

Information pertaining to independent expenditures and the funding of committees spending money on City candidates and ballot measures in upcoming City elections can be found on the Commission's Election Campaign Data page.


Notes Regarding 2016 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 only until May 7, 2017 (180 days after the general election). If a candidate has loaned money to his or her committee and not been repaid by May 7, 2017, the loan must be forgiven or converted to a contribution.

  • Candidates who participated in the June primary election (but were not on the November ballot) may continue fundraising for the primary election only until December 4, 2016 (180 days after the primary election), and only to the extent that they have existing debts and loans.  If a candidate has loaned money to his or her committee and not been repaid by December 4, 2016, the loan must be forgiven or converted to a contribution.

  • Contribution limits for the 2016 election cycle are as follows:

    • Council District Candidates: $550 per person per election
    • Citywide Candidates: $1,050 per person per election
    • Political Party Contributions to City Council Candidates: $10,300 per election
    • Political Party Contributions to Citywide Candidates: $20,650 per election
  • The Ethics Commission has prepared campaign manuals for candidates and committees that will be participating in San Diego's 2016 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.

  • The Ethics Commission has also 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.


Notes Regarding All City Elections

  • 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).

  • Candidates may not accept contributions in any amount from non-individuals (other than a political party committee).

  • 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 Candidates and Committees page for additional information regarding campaign finance rules.