Mom spends $460,000 to elect son to Legislature

Mike Brownrigg

The Post broke this story in its print edition on Tuesday morning. If you want to get the latest local news — including stories that aren’t online — pick up a copy of the Post every morning at more than 1,000 Mid-Peninsula locations.

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

The mother of a candidate running for state Senate has spent $460,000 on her son’s campaign, financial forms filed with the state secretary of state show.

Michael Brownrigg, a 10-year Burlingame councilman, confirmed yesterday that his mother, Linda Brownrigg, 85, of Los Alto Hills, had started her own independent expenditure committee to assist his campaign for the state Senate seat being vacated by the term-limited Jerry Hill.

“I was completely shocked, to be honest with you,” Brownrigg, 58, said. “But I’m proud that she believes in me this much.”

According to Secretary of State records, the elder Brownrigg created what’s called an independent expenditure committee, meaning she can raise money and spend it on things such as advertising or polling on her son’s campaign, but it cannot be in consultation with her son or his campaign. She funded the committee with $460,000.

Brownrigg said that he found out about his mother’s committee by a phone call from someone in Sacramento. Since learning about her committee, Brownrigg told his mother that they can’t talk about the campaign anymore.

“She’s still my mother, and I’m still her son, but I was clear that now this subject is completely off-limits,” Brownrigg said.

The Post tried to contact Linda Brownrigg, but could not find a working telephone number. When the Post asked Brownrigg for his mother’s phone number, he declined, saying she was a private person.

Brownrigg’s mother had previously given his campaign $8,800 before creating this committee.

Brownrigg was the second highest fundraiser, according to financial forms from August. He had raised $374,029. Menlo Park resident and entrepreneur Josh Becker had raised the most at $661,489. The other candidates have not raised more than $300,000 as of August.

Financial forms covering the period since August are due on Thursday.

Brownrigg said someone compared his situation to that of Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, whose father spent more than $4 million via an independent expenditure committee to help get his daughter elected.

“Perhaps it’s better that it’s a family member rather than a business or special interest,” Brownrigg said.

Brownrigg is one of six candidates running for Hill’s seat in the March 3 primary. Also running are Redwood City Councilwoman Shelly Masur, Menlo Park resident and entrepreneur Josh Becker, former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, Millbrae Councilwoman Annie Oliva and Los Altos resident and Republican Alex Glew. The top two candiates will go on to the general election in November.

3 Comments

  1. This is an example of why we need to get money out of politics and publicly fund campaigns. You shouldn’t be able to buy a seat in the legislature, or buy a seat for your son.

  2. If this family has $460,000 to blow on this campaign, it’s sad they didn’t spend the money on feeding the hungry or helping families pay the rent. Priorities!

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