FAIRFIELD – Solano County Sheriff Thomas Ferrara raised more than $37,700 in cash and non-monetary donations during the final six months of 2021 in a re-election bid to continue serving as the county’s top cop.
Ferrara also began the new year without a declared opponent as Fairfield police Lt. Dan Marshall pulled his candidacy in July 2021, a month after announcing he would challenge Ferrara. Marshall cited a desire to spend more time with his family.
A bulk of Ferrara’s donations — $35,400 — came in the form of cash as the three-term sheriff received support from real estate agents, business owners and retirees, mostly from the northern part of Solano County, which is generally considered to be more conservative than the cities of Vallejo and Benicia in the south.
Ferrara’s campaign picked up $2,500 from former Napa County Sheriff John Robertson, $2,000 from the Vacaville-based Napa-Solano Cattlemen's Association, and $1,500 from the Bill Dodd for Senate 2020 re-election campaign, according to records submitted to the Solano County Registrar of Voters.
Ferrara received cash support from members of his own department, including $250 from Deputy Sheriff Rustin Banks, and $250 from Solano County Undersheriff Brad DeWall, according to the same campaign forms.
Other notable donations include several cash contributions of $1,600 from Tri City Properties management, Stockon-based banker Thomas Backer, Rio Vista Ford, and retiree Debra Spinardi.
Meanwhile, the Vallejo-based Law Officers of Favaro, Lavezzo, Gill, Caretti & Heppell donated $1,000. MAS Property Holdings also donated $1,000. Another $250 came from Amy Sharp, who serves as district representative for Solano County Supervisor Mitch Mashburn, a former sheriff’s lieutenant.
Solano Landing, a real estate company, gave $1,000. The company was started by James Pierson of Medic Ambulance, according to records submitted to the California Secretary of State website.
Ferrara spent more than $13,000 during the same time frame, with a sizable amount, $5,000, going to Daedalus Creative Design, Ferrara’s campaign also spent $5,220 to buy 10 Stoeger Coach shotguns from 29 Outdoor Gear in American Canyon. The weapons were listed as fundraising items.
The campaign reported having $33,711 in its coffers as of Dec. 31, 2021, which includes $11,258 in cash received during the first half of 2021.
Ferrara faced controversy last year as his department and leadership abilities were questioned when it was reported in February that members of the Solano County Sheriff's Office had displayed Three Percenter symbols on their social media pages.
Three Percenters are known for their anti-government, pro-gun views, and a willingness to violently defy the federal government.
That revelation caused Ferrara to withdraw from a security contract with the Solano Community College District after the college president, Celia Esposito-Noy, raised concerns about some of his deputies apparently showing support for the Three Percenters.
Then, in August, the sheriff’s office was hit with a federal lawsuit which alleged that deputies Dalton McCampbell and Lisa McDowell beat Nakia Porter unconscious for no reason after she pulled over to switch drivers near Dixon. The deputies approached her over mismatched license plates, decided to detain her, and then forcefully handcuffed her, dragged her to their car and hit her on the ground. The sheriff defended the deputies and said Porter swung at one of them.
The new allegations prompted the Solano County Board of Supervisors to consider implementing an oversight board of the sheriff’s office under AB 1185, a new state law that allows county supervisors to create such a board with subpoena powers to investigate the sheriff’s office and compel it to release relevant records. The board, however, rejected the proposal.
Ferrara was first appointed sheriff in August 2012 following the retirement of Gary R. Stanton. Ferrara was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.
The election is scheduled for June 7.
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
Investigative reporting, regular updates, events and more
- Election 2022
- Solano County
- Solano County Sheriff's Office
- Tom Ferrara
- Dan Marshall
- John Robertson
- Bill Dodd
- Rustin Banks
- Brad DeWall
- Mitch Mashburn
- Medic Ambulance
- James Pierson
- Daedalus Creative Design
- Outdoor Gear
- Three Percenters
- Solano Community College District
- Nakia Porter
- Solano County Board of Supervisors
- Dalton McCampbell
- Lisa McDowell
- Gary Stanton
John Glidden worked as a journalist covering the city of Vallejo for more than 10 years. He left journalism in 2023 and currently works in the office of Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown.
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