Heading toward his June re-election campaign, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson raised five times more money in 2009 than challenger Rob Jackson, a Turlock Police captain.
In the last half of the year, Jackson gave his campaign a $2,975 loan while others contributed $2,660, for a total of $5,635. In all of 2009, Jackson raised $18,304.
Christianson hadn't raised a dime before Jackson announced he would challenge the first-term sheriff. But Christianson's supporters kicked into gear in the last half of 2009, contributing $102,555.
Christianson refused to say why he refunded a donation from embattled Hughson City Councilman Thom Crowder, who gave the sheriff $150 in July. Crowder voted to terminate Hughson's city manager in October and was among three targets of a blistering civil grand jury investigation released in December.
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Crowder refuses to resign as urged by grand jurors, Mayor Ramon Bawanan and a recall committee.
The sheriff also refused to discuss his relationship with the West Side's Del Don family, whose farming, chemical and fertilizer com- panies contributed five checks totaling $12,000. Asked for details, Christianson said, "I appreciate and enjoy widespread support in the community."
The Del Don total includes $1,000 from Leroy Del Don Jr. -- who gave $2,000 to Jackson. Jackson, who worked nearly 20 years for the Sheriff's Department until two years ago, reported no other single contribution larger than $500.
Bill Lyons Jr., who is running for county supervisor, and six relatives gave the sheriff a combined $5,300. When asked about the Lyons family, Christianson said, "The agricultural commu- nity as a whole has been overwhelmingly supportive."
Six executives of a Tennessee-based company that landed a multimillion-dollar contract running health care in the sheriff's jails contributed a total of $5,800, including a nonmonetary "Nashville getaway prize" worth $1,800, presumably used in a campaign fund-raiser.
In April, Correct Care Solutions won a bid over California Forensic Medical Group, which had provided inmate health care for more than 20 years. A screening committee with representatives from the county's chief executive office, county counsel, probation department and Christianson's department ranked Correct Care highest.
The county Board of Supervisors approved a new five-year contract giving Correct Care 7 percent more than the previous deal, with a yearly base of $7.1 million increasing to $8.6 million in 2013.
"We've gone to great lengths to make sure all contributions fall within the guidelines of the FPPC, and they do," Christianson said. He referred to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, which polices political campaigns.
County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, who has crossed swords with the sheriff, said he was satisfied with the previous provider but saw no reason not to ask for new bids.
"(Christianson) was the one pushing for this company (Correct Care)," DeMartini said. "Maybe they're paying him back."
Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa contributed $4,000. Christianson's campaign paid Costa $1,655 for food for a fund-raising event, and paid Costa's company, 5.11 Tactical, another $11,805 for "clothing, party rentals, video" used in an event, according to a finance report.
Other sizable donations include $9,000 from Jerry and Jan Hill of Pacific Southwest Container; $7,500 from Brad Ardis, president of Huff Construction; $2,800 from John Myrtakis of Matel Realty; and $1,500 from Big Valley Commercial.
The sheriff received $1,000 from Taxpayers for Dave Cogdill, who is stepping down from his California Senate seat and will run in June for county assessor.
Christianson accepted smaller amounts from Jeanine Monteith, wife of county Supervisor Dick Monteith, who is running for re-election; Anita Mayfield, widow of former Supervisor Tom Mayfield, who died in December 2008; former Supervisors Ray Simon, Nick Blom and Paul Caruso; Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour's campaign committee; former Mayor Peter Johansen; Modesto City Schools board member Nancy Cline; and Loretta Berryhill, wife of Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, who is running for the Senate.
Community matriarch Bette Belle Smith gave Christianson $50 on July 1, four months before she died.
Other contributors to the sheriff's cause include Mi- chael McNulty of Sierra Pacific Warehouse ($1,200), Jim Duarte of Hughson's Duarte Nursery ($1,150) and Richard Swanson of Turlock's Swanson Farms ($1,100).
Christianson received $1,000 each from Carl Boyett of Boyett Petroleum, Modesto; Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel, Modesto; Squab Producers of California, Modesto; California Poultry Federation, Modesto; Foster Poultry Farms, Livingston; Associated Feed, Turlock; Dycus Heating and Air Conditioning, Modesto; Nick Trani, Modesto; land use attorney George Petrulakis; Prime Shine Express owner Norm Porges; Aderholt Specialty Co.; and Penny Webber of Sky Trek Aviation.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2390.