Jenkins leads in race for SLO County Clerk-Recorder campaign contributions

May 1, 2022

Stew Jenkins


With the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder seat up for grabs, the three candidates running are raking in cash, collecting endorsements and fervently campaigning.

Campaign finance reports for the first reporting period of 2022 show Stew Jenkins outpacing his opponents Elaina Cano and James Baugh in fundraising. Jenkins collected $41,355 in cash donations, while Cano raised $10,743 and Baugh raised $4,850.

Former SLO County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong resigned in June 2021, after securing a job in another county. During his tenure, Gong’s issues included miscategorizing a seat in Los Osos, mixing the ballots for rural and city voters in Arroyo Grande, and sending thousands of voters in SLO two vote-by-mail ballots while other voters in rural SLO County found themselves removed from the voter rolls.

SLO County Supervisors then voted 4-1 in Oct. 2021 to appoint Cano, ending a contentious battle that included allegations that procedures for selecting a replacement were not followed.

Jenkins is an election law attorney who has served as a deputy registrar of voters. He raised $41,355 in cash donations and loaned himself $33,500 between Jan. 1 and April 23, for a total of $74.855.

Appointed Clerk Recorder Elaina Cano

Sam Blakeslee, a former member of the California State Senate, donated $1,000 to Jenkins, the largest of his campaign. Other notable contributors include former U.S Congressman Leon Panetta, former SLO Mayor Allen Settle and former SLO County administrator Wayne Hall.

Cano worked in the SLO County Clerk Recorder’s Office for four and a half years before taking a job at the Santa Barbara clerk’s office three years ago. She has run the SLO County office for the past six months. From Jan. 1 through April 23, Cano raised $10,743 in total contributions.

Attorney Don Ernst, attorney Ray Mattison, former Tribune editor Joseph Chip Visci and Cal Poly lecturer Kristin Bridgeford each donated $500 to Cano’s campaign.

Jim Baugh

A U.S. Army veteran and military consultant, James Baugh worked as a precinct inspector during the 2021 gubernatorial recall election. He raised $4,850 in cash donations and loaned himself $6,000, for a total of $10,850.

Baugh’s largest donor is Michael Mullen-Kurnik, a retired resident of Paso Robles. Mullen-Kurnik donated $970. Baugh also received a pair of $485 donations from construction company owner James Mierop and Stacey Haney, the owner of Allegiant Giving.

If a clerk-recorder candidates receive more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 7 primary, they will win the election outright. If no one wins in June, the top two candidates will head to a November runoff.

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Wow! Who would have thought the purchase price for county clerk-recorder was that high?

While I have plenty of respect for Mr. Jenkins, he appears to me to be a bit north of 65 years old and I believe the job should go to a younger candidate who will stay in the job for many years, as Julie Rodewald did. Ms. Cano looks like she’s in her 40’s and already has significant experience in this position.

In other words, I don’t want the county to go through the same crap that we’ve experienced in the last year over and over. Jenkins might stay in the position for four years and be done, leaving another political fight in 2026.

And, for those who would accuse me of ageism, be aware I ran my own business until I was 71.

Wonder why this particular candidate is getting most of the contributions.

It could be because he represents the voice of reason, understands the law and is a long lived local that has earned the respect of many.

Name recognition. Jenkins has been a prominent figure in SLO for about 30 years. He has friends.

We need James Baugh if we want election transparency. We all remember what we had with one of our longest serving Clerk-Recorder Julie … A trusting peaceful county. James Baugh will be that for us.


I find it absurd that two people are running for this position that have zero experience in a clerk/recorder office.

Vote Baugh.

I’ve have moved to support Jim Baugh. Jenkins and Cano come with a lot of left-leaning baggage that leads to trust and fairness issues from both. Jenkins talks a good game, but I’m not buying it.

Then go do your homework. Jenkins has demonstrated his fairness over the years to both political parties. Four years ago, he defended Lynn Compton in her recount bid efforts.

Baugh is just a loud mouth with zero experience. You really want that guy as a county official????

They both have zero experience in a County Clerk/Recorder’s Office.