Gov. Jerry Brown finally spends campaign money, but not on himself

"Look, we have the ingredients to get this thing launched," Gov. Jerry Brown said of bullet train.
“Look, we have the ingredients to get this thing launched,” Gov. Jerry Brown said of bullet train.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

California Gov. Jerry Brown is finally spending some significant money on the November election. But once again, his focus is not on his reelection, which seems assured given public opinion polling, but rather two propositions on the November ballot.

The Democrat spent more than $10 million out of a campaign committee he controls that is earmarked for pushing Propositions 1 and 2, the water bond measure and rainy day fund proposal, respectively, between Oct. 1 and 18, according to reports filed Thursday with the state.

The money was spent largely on television ads blanketing the state featuring the governor, an economist, a farmer and a firefighter touting the two measures as critical for California’s future.


That account had $6 million in it as of Oct. 18, according to the reports.

Brown also spent $3.4 million out of his candidacy account during the same time period. Nearly all of it was spent on advertising supporting Propositions 1 and 2.

Brown has spent practically no money on his bid for an unprecedented fourth term and has not been actively campaigning. With Election Day less than two weeks away, the Democrat is so confident about his chances against little-known GOP rival Neel Kashkari that he left the state Thursday for a four-day trip for his 50th class reunion at Yale Law School.

Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official and first-time candidate for public office, filed a report Thursday showing that his cash on hand was just under $842,000 on Oct. 18.

Kashkari, who has struggled to raise enough money to mount a serious challenge to Brown, reported $1.4 million in new donations, but that included $1,040,000 from his own pocket. He also reported just under $1,040,000 in TV advertising expenses.

Brown’s candidacy account had a nearly $21-million balance as of Oct. 18, money the governor suggested in an interview Friday that he would try to largely squirrel away for ballot measure campaigns that he might need to mount during a final term.

“There may be things to be done that will involve a ballot measure,” he said. “I’m not going to disclose” what they might be. But “I do think having a credible war chest will overcome whatever infirmities lame-duck governors might ordinarily suffer from.”

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