As­ses­sor sends fund­ing SOS

L.A. County of­fi­cial has a $50,000 cam­paign debt and a May 1 dead­line.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Abby Sewell abby.sewell@la­times.com Fol­low Abby Sewell on Twit­ter at @sewella for more LA County news.

Los An­ge­les County As­ses­sor Jeff Prang sent out a plea to his sup­port­ers Mon­day to help him pay down $50,000 in debt left over from his cam­paign last year.

It is not un­com­mon for can­di­dates to end up with un­paid debts af­ter elec­tion day, but Prang’s mes­sage struck an un­usu­ally des­per­ate tone in an email with the sub­ject line “May Day ... May Day!”

“I ur­gently need your help: de­spite run­ning a bare­bones cam­paign, I am left with a cam­paign debt of $50,000!” Prang wrote. “I must pay off this debt in the next 12 days — by May 1st!”

County reg­u­la­tions re­quire can­di­dates to stop fundrais­ing six months af­ter the elec­tion. Prang won the of­fice in Novem­ber.

Prang said the tone of the email was “a fundrais­ing strat­egy,” but added, “It is kind of se­ri­ous. If I don’t raise it es­sen­tially by next Fri­day, I have ven­dors who I still owe money to, and if I don’t raise the money, it comes out of my own pocket.”

The out­stand­ing debt is down from the end of last year, when the cam­paign had about $130,000 in un­paid bills, in­clud­ing pay­ments for slate mail­ers and con­sult­ing fees.

Prang blamed, in part, the dif­fi­culty of rais­ing money for an of­fice that re­mains lit­tle-known de­spite the fact that his pre­de­ces­sor, John Noguez, was ar­rested on felony cor­rup­tion charges.

“There are cer­tain of­fices that have more sex ap­peal,” he said.

Prang, a for­mer West Hol­ly­wood city coun­cil­man who worked as a spe­cial as­sis­tant to the as­ses­sor, won a nar­row victory over John Mor­ris, a head deputy to the Los An­ge­les County dis­trict at­tor­ney.

Be­fore the elec­tion, Prang’s sup­port­ers con­trib­uted $713,000 to his cam­paign and an in­de­pen­dent com­mit­tee sup­port­ing his can­di­dacy. Mor­ris raised about $282,000.

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