As if the campaign for Santa Barbara County’s 3rd District supervisor wasn’t already a little weird—with Frank Troise holding his own candidacy hostage by threatening the other two candidates to agree to his budget terms or else he’ll continue running—the race’s finance filings are weirder still. 

Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne, who surprised everyone with her December candidacy announcement, has raised $100 so far. Former Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl donated that money to her campaign. Jenelle Osborne for Supervisor 2024’s giant bank account is running up against that of incumbent Joan Hartmann, whose campaign committee holds $168,000, and Troise, whose committee’s account holds $2,400 (although his campaign has $5,400 in outstanding debts). 

Troise may owe people more than he’s got on hand, but at least his campaign has raised some money: $8,600 in 2023 and $350 between Jan. 1 and 20. Most of that came from the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, so I guess those guys have a bone to pick with Hartmann. 

What’s Osborne got to say about it? 

Predictably, she claims to be running a “grassroots campaign” and is doing it all herself, she said. The term grassroots generally indicates more than one person is helping. You know, like a community groundswell of volunteers who support a candidate with their time and by doing all the things that need to be done. 

But in Osborne’s case, she makes it sound like she’s just doing everything herself. And she’s bagging on the incumbent for actually raising money, which is pretty normal when you’re going to run for a position like county supervisor.

“I don’t think money should be the only reason you win. The incumbent has a large amount of funds with the Democratic Party funding the campaign,” she said. 

Osborne even signed an agreement with the county that she would cap her fundraising at $96,000—something she should have no problem sticking to at this point! 

“I also want to prove to people that you don’t have to be wealthy and have a lot of money to get involved with local politics,” she added. 

This is true. It shouldn’t cost a lot of money, but the fact of the matter is that it does. That’s the name of the game—and ginning up support by fundraising is a lot easier if you’ve got some time in office, some name recognition, and support from the local party. 

However, if you’re running as an independent, which Osborne is, things can get a little tricky. That party money is nowhere to be found, and endorsements are also slim. The union money that helped her out in her mayoral campaigns seems to be nowhere to be found.

While you don’t need a million dollars to run a campaign, you need more than a hundred. And she does seem to know it takes cold hard cash to run in a cold hard race. 

Osborne ran a successful campaign against Jim Mosby to retain her seat as Lompoc’s mayor in 2022. In it, her campaign raised a little more than $10,000, and Mosby raised almost $20,000, according to Lompoc’s campaign finance filings from that election. In 2020, she raised more than $12,000 to beat Mosby. 

But she’s being economical in this race, she said. I guess we’ll see what happens in the next leg.

The Canary’s campaign committee is broke. Send dollar bills to [email protected].

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