A California election is a costly run. With Election Day just around the corner, wagging tongues accuse Meg Whitman of trying to buy her way into office by way of campaign finances. Ever wonder just who funds the average election campaign?
Incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer vs. Carly Fiorina
Democratic incumbent Senator Boxer faces California election competition from business woman Carly Fiorina. As of June, 2010 Open Secrets reports that Senator Boxer managed to raise $18,884,745. Of these funds, 75 percent come from individual contributors rather than PACs. Challenger Fiorina has raised $10,606,006, of which only 42 percent come from individuals but 52 percent stem from her own pocket.
Those bankrolling Senator Boxer are (by virtue of their biggest donations) Emily’s List, the University of California and Time Warner. Law firms and lobbyists are also heavily contributing.
Governor’s Race: Jerry Brown vs. Meg Whitman for an Open Seat
Gubernatorial hopefuls Brown and Whitman are locked in a contentious election campaign. Challenging longtime politician Jerry Brown is costly for Republican Meg Whitman, who has amassed a war chest of a jaw-dropping $109,932,834. As outlined by Follow the Money, Whitman contributed almost 83 percent of this figure, while investment bankers and real estate professionals are offering significantly smaller dollar amounts.
Alleging that Whitman is trying to buy favorable California election results, Jerry Brown has only raised $27,504,007. Roughly 28 percent came from Brown’s own account while the rest is a mix of Democratic Party donations, AT&T funds and labor union financing.
Lieutenant Governor: Democrat Gavin Newsom vs. Incumbent Abel Maldonado
Gavin Newsom has managed to raise $1,419,303. Top contributors are trade and public sector unions as well as lawyers and lobbyists. It is interesting to note that almost 10 percent of funding is from out of state entities.
Republican Abel Maldonado lost a lot of friends among the electorate when he went back on his Tax Pledge promise and instead voted to increase taxes in California. Election donations are predictably low at $619,850. His main supporters are tribal governments and real estate corporations as well as conservative policy organizations.
Attorney General: Republican Steve Cooley vs. Kamala Harris
Cooley raised $1,659,103, the majority of which comes from lawyers and lobbyists. Gambling and casino industry professionals also have a vested interest in his election to the open seat. Campaign finances for Harris show a war chest of $3,886,957. Lawyers and lobbyists contribute the lion’s share, closely followed by TV and movie producers. More than 10 percent of contributions come from out of state funding.
While the election campaign between Brown and Whitman is perhaps the most jaw-dropping – at least with respect to campaign finances – it presents voters with an interesting dilemma. Should Election Day be a nod to the financial interests behind the candidates – which will undoubtedly also pull the strings after their candidate is in office – or go with the self-funded unknowns that are not beholden to anyone?