Records Set in $130M Calif. Gov. Race
Feb. 02, 2003
SACRAMENTO (AP) _ Gov. Gray Davis broke his own campaign spending record to win re-election last year, apparently setting a new national benchmark for a non-presidential race, campaign records show.
Two candidates who want to succeed him in four years are already filling their own war chests.
The Democratic governor spent nearly $78 million, more than double the $36 million spent by Republican Bill Simon Jr., according to final 2002 campaign reports filed Friday with the secretary of state. Those figures cover both the party primary and general election campaigns.
Davis' total tops the roughly $74 million spent in New York by two billionaires _ Thomas Golisano when he unsuccessfully ran for governor last year, and Michael Bloomberg, who was elected mayor of New York City in 2001.
The combined $130 million spent by Davis and his rivals unofficially appeared to top the then-record $124 million spent by Davis and other candidates in the 1998 governor's race.
But it fell short of the new combined spending record for a governor's race set last year in the New York contest, where incumbent Gov. George Pataki and his challengers spent more than $148 million.
By contrast, Davis spent $35.3 million to win the 1998 campaign, setting what at the time was the individual spending record for a California governor's race.
Last year Davis defeated Simon by 5 percentage points after a race that focused largely on Simon's personal finances and Davis' campaign fund-raising. Much of Davis' money came from contributors with a stake in California government, and a continuing interest in the state's record budget crisis.
While Davis received a large share of his campaign funds from labor unions, developers and the health care industry, Simon relied heavily on his family to bankroll his campaign, the records showed. Simon put $11.3 million into the race, including $400,000 in donations and nearly $10 million in loans to himself.
Davis, who is not personally wealthy, has said he needs his extraordinary campaign kitty to compete against just such a self-funded challenger.
Two statewide Democratic officeholders who are expected to run for governor in 2006 already have banked more than $20, the campaign records show.
Neither state Attorney General Bill Lockyer nor state Treasurer Phil Angelides has formally announced his candidacy, but Lockyer reported nearly $10 million in cash remaining at the end of the year, while Angelides reported just over $10 million left in his account. That included a $1 million personal loan Angelides made to the campaign on Election Day, but did not spend.
Their aggressive fund-raising beat new donation limits that kicked in Nov. 6. Proposition 34, approved by voters in 2000, will limit individual donations to candidates for governor in 2006 to $21,200. A third potential successor, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, has saved $281,000 thus far.
Political experts said the new limits will probably rein in future campaign spending, but are unlikely to end accusations like those leveled at Davis _ always denied _ that he let contributors influence state policy.
In the 2002 governor's race, both Simon and Davis spent the bulk of their money on television ads.
Campaign Media Analysis Group, an ad tracking service hired by the Davis campaign, estimated the governor spent $48 million on TV commercials in the state's five biggest media markets. The Republican gubernatorial candidates _ Simon and his primary opponents Richard Riordan and Bill Jones _ spent a total of $24 million on television ads in the same TV markets, according to the firm.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer raised $2.25 million for her 2004 re-election campaign and had $1.4 million in the bank. She spent $13 million on her 1998 race.
Simon said he may challenge Boxer, while Republican U.S. Reps. Doug Ose, George Radanovich of Mariposa, and Darrell Issa of Vista are eyeing the race.