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In an unprecedented move, the local Republican Party donated $20,000 to a San Diego City Council candidate last week, campaign finance reports show.

District 6 City Council candidate Lorie Zapf received $20,000 from the local Republican Party, a donation made possible by a ruling in lawsuit that challenged the city’s campaign finance rules.

Zapf disclosed the donation in her most recent campaign filing, which was due Thursday.

A federal appeals court ruling last week created a window in the city’s campaign finance laws allowing political parties to donate an unlimited amount to City Council campaigns in advance of the June 8 primary election.

Previously, the city had banned political parties from contributing to campaigns in an attempt to limit special interest control over city elections. The local Republican Party was part of a coalition that filed a lawsuit to force changes, and last week’s appeals ruling was the coalition’s latest in a series of court victories. Since then the city’s Ethics Commission has issued an opinion detailing reporting requirements for parties.

According to the financial report, the Republican Party made the donation in two $10,000 installments on May 19 and 20. The same day she received the first installment, Zapf told me she hadn’t talked to anyone from the party about the donation and declined to comment on if she’d take the money because the city’s campaign rules were in flux.

Zapf, who has come under fire for falling behind on her mortgage and making derogatory statements about gays, reported raising more than $52,000 in total contributions this reporting period which ran from mid-March through May 22. She reported $36,348.52 in cash on hand.

By contrast, the campaign’s other big fundraiser, former Democratic state Assemblyman Howard Wayne raised $35,828.6 in total contributions this reporting period and has $33,479.43 in cash on hand.

District 6 includes the city’s Mission Valley, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Serra Mesa and Linda Vista neighborhoods. Other candidates include Steve Hadley, chief of staff for termed-out Councilwoman Donna Frye; Ryan Huckabone, a businessman; and Kim Tran, a paralegal.

— LIAM DILLON

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