In the battle for Democratic state Assemblyman Chris Holden's former Northwest Pasadena council seat, checks for as much as $5,000 and $10,000 each have helped Los Angeles Urban League executive John J. Kennedy raise nearly three times as much as his two opponents combined.
Hueso topped the reported fundraising totals of seven other board candidates.
California law limits the amount a single person can give to any statewide candidate, but no such restrictions apply to the Pasadena council or school board races, Pasadena City Clerk Mark Jomsky said.
The City Council in 2006 rejected a city task force proposal to cap political gifts to council campaigns at $1,000 per donor.
Local elections on March 5 will be decided according to geographic districts that in some cases contain relatively few registered voters, increasing the potential impact of a single deep-pocket donor.
Kennedy raised $35,285 through Jan. 19 in the race for Council District 3, according to reports filed with the city clerk's office.
Among the largest donors were La Cañada Flintridge investor Michael Harahan, who gave $10,000, and insurance executive Teena Hostavich, also of La Cañada, who gave $5,000.
Both were major donors to President Obama's 2012 reelection bid. Kennedy and his sister, Lena Kennedy — who is working for her brother as a paid consultant — were members of the Obama campaign's national finance committee.
Kennedy also received $7,500 from two local property management companies and $100 gifts from former Pasadena Mayor Bill Paparian, former Pasadena City Manager Phil Hawkey and Pasadena City College Trustee Berlinda Brown.
On the other end of the fundraising spectrum, Kennedy's opponent, Ishmael Trone, a local business owner, raised $12,927, including $4,300 in loans to his own campaign and a $3,000 check from his mother, records show.
Church pastor Nicholas Benson, also on the District 3 ballot, filed paperwork declaring he would raise less than $1,000.
City records count just 9,045 registered voters in the district.
In the less competitive Council District 5, Councilman Victor Gordo reported raising $9,749 for his reelection bid.
Challenger Israel Estrada suspended his campaign on Jan. 21 and did not report raising funds. Estrada will appear on the ballot, however, because he did not withdraw in time to have his name removed, Jomsky said.
School board member Scott Phelps raised $6,219 to attorney Luis Ayala's $1,939 in the contest for West Pasadena's school board seat. The district has 21,188 registered voters, making it the largest city or school board voter district in play this year.
Phelps received $1,500 from Vielka McFarlane, who opened Celerity Exa Charter School in Pasadena last year after the school board unanimously approved her charter petition.
A voter-approved city law prohibits council members — but not school board members — from taking campaign contributions from people who have received direct financial benefits from votes they have cast.
Ramon Miramontes, who will vacate the school board this year, gave $1,000 to Phelps.
Ayala received $1,000 from Pasadena investment firm manager Peter Knell.
In a central Pasadena voter district contest, school board member Elizabeth Pomeroy raised $4,284, including a $2,000 gift from Pasadena Educational Foundation member Guilford Babcock.
Opponent Stella Murga, executive director of the Pasadena Youth Center, raised $5,244, including $3,500 in loans to herself.
School board member Kim Kenne raised $11,400 in loans to her own campaign for a West Altadena seat. Kenne's opponent, retired teacher Dean Cooper, has not reported fundraising.
Hueso, who said $5,000-donor Núñez is a childhood friend, has raised $6,175 in a four-way school board race in Northwest Pasadena. Also the brother of Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), he received $250 each from Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) and outgoing school board member Ed Honowitz.
Two Hueso opponents have not reported fundraising, and the other pledged to raise less than $1,000.
Follow Joe Piasecki on Twitter: @JoePiasecki.