BY IMRAN GHORI
ighori@pe.com

Published: 01 June 2012 05:58 PM

Employee unions are among those spending heavily to support candidates they back in both the San Bernardino and Riverside County supervisorial races.

Mike Soubirous, who is one of two challengers running against Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster in the 1st District, has been the largest beneficiary of union support, according to campaign reports.

Since last November, Soubirous has received $307,940 from labor groups, including $56,000 in the past week. His contributors include the county’s largest unions, including Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 777, Service Employees International Union Local 721, and the Riverside Sheriff’s Association, which has about 2,500 members.

SEIU, which had previously given him $40,000, gave him another $50,000 just this past week. The sheriff’s association has contributed $200,000 to Soubirous.

Buster, who has received union criticism, got no union funding during this election cycle. Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, who is also running for the seat, has gotten support from the county deputy district attorney’s association, which gave him $10,000 last September and another $275 this year.

In the 3rd District, Supervisor Jeff Stone received a $2,500 contribution from SEIU this week and has previously gotten $1,500 from the deputy district attorney’s association. His opponent, Joe Scarafone, showed no union contributions in his reports.

In San Bernardino County, Supervisor Neil Derry and opponent James Ramos, the former San Manuel tribal chairman, have both gotten significant backing from labor groups.

The San Bernardino Public Employees Association, the largest union representing county employees, contributed a total of $68,743 to Ramos in three contributions, the majority of which was made in May.

Derry received $86,193.70 from the San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association, which paid for campaign mailers on his behalf.

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