California treasurer has millions left for future campaigns

One of the quietest campaigns in California last year has resulted in the biggest leftover war chest for a statewide politician not named Jerry Brown.

John Chiang, who was successfully elected state treasurer after eight years as controller, has $3.3 million in the bank, according to his latest campaign finance report.

He spent $563,304 to beat Republican opponent Greg Conlon, a retired accountant from Atherton who’s never won an election. Conlon spent almost all of the nearly $80,000 he raised.

Chiang won 58.8% to 41.2%, a nearly 18-point victory.

His political consultant, Parke Skelton, responded vaguely when asked what he plans to do with the leftover money.

"John will definitely need the money in the future," he said.

By comparison, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has just over $3 million in his campaign account. He's considered to be a leading candidate for governor four years from now, when Brown will be barred from running for another term.

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has $1.3 million in her campaign chest, but she's not allowed to use that money while running for a U.S. Senate seat next year.

Of course, Brown's war chest dwarfs all other candidates. His personal campaign account and a fund for ballot measures have a combined $24 million.

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.

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