SANTA CRUZ -- A union mailer featuring Micah Posner gave the first-time Santa Cruz City Council candidate a big boost last month, campaign finance records reveal.

Posner was featured along with Mayor Don Lane, former Mayor Cynthia Mathews and former Democratic Party leader Richelle Noroyan on one side of the half-page postcard bought in October by the Service Employees International Union Local 521's independent expenditure committee. The other side featured just Posner.

"We thought of all our endorsed candidates that he needed the most help," said Jim Heaney, a Santa Cruz County building plans inspector who serves as chair of the union's committee on political education.

The $8,319 expenditure with a San Francisco direct mail firm for about 10,000 pieces represents the largest single expenditure made on behalf of council candidates by any organization through Oct. 20. No late-spending reports were filed by candidates or political committees for the period of Oct. 20 through Tuesday's election, and the next reporting period ends Jan. 31.

The union's spending may have helped Poser nearly match votes -- the margin is 83 -- with third-place finisher Pamela Comstock, who drew more support from the business sector, including the Locally Owned Business Alliance that also endorsed Lane, Mathews and Noroyan. That group's spending on a critical door hanger distributed late in the campaign won't be reported until after Jan. 31.


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Heaney said the union chose to spotlight Posner because Lane and Mathews, who have served two and four terms on the council, respectively, had widespread name recognition. Noroyan, who was the only candidate endorsed by the union not to win a seat, has a number of political contacts.

With Posner vowing to stay within the city's recommended spending limit of $26,640, Posner said the union's investment helped.

"I could only really afford one fancy mailer," he said. "By people getting a full-color mailer, it helped people feel like I was serious."

Lane also agreed to the expenditure limit. Mathews, Comstock and Noroyan did not.

In terms of where council candidates drew support geographically, precinct reports from Tuesday's contest show Posner and Lane dominated UC Santa Cruz, where both earned bachelor's degrees. Posner's campaign manager, Jacqueline Seydel, has been a student there, and Lane has taught on campus.

Posner also got the most votes in the Beach Flats and areas around the Circles on the Westside. Lane performed well among Westside, downtown and Seabright areas that also voted in high numbers for Mathews.

Comstock was the highest vote-getter in DeLaveaga and the upper Branciforte areas on the Eastside, but also had strong support on the Westside.

Follow Sentinel reporter J.M. Brown on Twitter at Twitter.com/jmbrownreports