Big money and big accusations fly in race for district attorney

Donation from Robert Brewer's wife questioned

SAN DIEGO - The money is pouring in for the district attorney’s race and with the big money comes big accusations.

Private attorney Robert Brewer and former prosecutor Terri Wyatt are challenging incumbent Bonnie Dumanis. 

Brewer is on top when it comes to fundraising. From January to mid-March of this year, Brewer raised more than $86,000. Dumanis raised close to $66,000.

So far, Brewer has raised a total of $568,344 and Dumanis has raised $411,103.72.

“The fact that the challenger has raised more than the incumbent says a lot,” said political analyst John Dadian. “With a couple months left, I think clearly both campaigns are going to concentrate on getting much more money.”

But some Dumanis supporters are criticizing the money going in to defeating her. On the “DDAs4Dumanis” Twitter handle, it blasts a $10,000 donation made to an independent expenditure from Brewer’s wife, Irma Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, a retired federal judge, donated to San Diegans for Better Justice. The organization is a Political Action Committee formed to oppose Dumanis.

Gonzalez told 10News there was no coordination with her husband’s campaign, which would have been illegal.

“I made it from a separate account, my account that he has absolutely no control over. He has no idea even what the account number is,” said Gonzalez. She now works as an independent contractor for JAMS, which provides mediation and arbitration services. 

“So just to be clear, no coordination, nothing of that sort with the campaign?” asked 10News reporter Melissa Mecija.

“Absolutely not,” said Gonzalez.

The online accusations continued with what turned out to be a fake news release on the “DDAs4Dumanis” Twitter account. The release said that Brewer was going to answer questions regarding some of his donors. 

Brewer’s campaign is now asking for an apology regarding the fake news release.

Dumanis opponents are tying her to a donation made to a PAC supporting her then-bid for San Diego mayor. Prosecutors say that donation was illegal, coming from foreign national Susumo Azano. Dumanis said she knew nothing about it.

“It will get much uglier. Accusations are flying already,” Dadian said. 

Alex Roth, Brewer’s communications director, said the donation from Brewer’s wife was “a legal, public donation made for the whole world to see.” 

Dumanis’ campaign pointed out that when it came to donations, Brewer gave his campaign a $90,000 donation. Dumanis has not used any of her own money.

The primary election is scheduled for June 3.

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