Gavin Newsom remains the dominant front-runner in fundraising in the California gubernatorial campaign, reporting nearly $16.7 million in cash on hand as the year started, according to disclosure documents filed with the state on Wednesday.
That’s more than all his gubernatorial rivals combined, and it’s a notable shift for a candidate who dropped out of the 2010 governor’s race in part because he was a lackluster fundraiser.
Newsom’s cash-on-hand figure is more than double what his nearest Democratic rivals – state Treasurer John Chiang and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa – each have in the bank, according to filings at the California secretary of state’s office.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Chiang spent nearly every dollar he raised during the last six months of 2017, according to a campaign financial disclosure statement filed with the California secretary of state’s office on Wednesday.
Chiang, the state’s treasurer, raised $1.3 million and spent $1,264,602 during this reporting period, according to the filing.
It’s a dramatic uptick in spending since he entered the race in mid-2016, and it occurred just before a campaign shake-up intended to reboot a candidacy that has been lagging in the polls.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had more than $5.9 million in the bank at the beginning of the year for his gubernatorial bid, lagging far behind top Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Villaraigosa raised $4.4 million in 2017 and spent more than a quarter of that on his campaign, according to a summary of the campaign finance report he filed with the California secretary of state.
"We set out to make this a two-person race, and we have accomplished that by dramatically increasing our support in the polls, raising over $7 million and laying the foundation for a winning people-powered campaign. We are on track to advance to the general election and win in November,” Villaraigosa campaign spokesman Luis Vizcaino said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox has nearly $2 million on hand as he tries to win one of the top two spots in the June primary, according to a fundraising disclosure report he filed with the California secretary of state’s office on Wednesday.
He reported raising $518,446 in 2017, on top of the $3 million the Rancho Santa Fe businessman donated to his campaign.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein raised $1 million in the final months of 2017 and lent her campaign $5 million, according to a fundraising disclosure filed with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.
The cash infusions allowed the veteran senator to kick off the year with $9.8 million in the bank.
Feinstein last faced a competitive race in 1994. But she is being challenged this year by a fellow Democrat, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. He has not yet disclosed his fundraising efforts to date.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen started the year more than $200,000 in debt, according to a fundraising report filed with the California secretary of state’s office on Wednesday.
Allen, a state assemblyman from Huntington Beach, reported raising $447,236 in 2017, with expenditures of $654,602, according to the filing. More than half of those expenses were unpaid, leaving Allen with $135,535 cash in the bank and $342,850 in unpaid bills.
Allen’s GOP rivals in the race have yet to report their fundraising totals for 2017, but he is almost certain to lag behind businessman John Cox, who has contributed $3 million to his own campaign. The other main Republican in the race, former Rep. Doug Ose, entered the race earlier this month and won’t be required to file fundraising reports until the spring.
Rep. Duncan Hunter’s reelection campaign could be headed into a tailspin. According to the latest campaign finance reports, Hunter’s campaign is bleeding money.
The Republican from Alpine raised an anemic $50,703 in the last three months of 2017, according to the reports, but spent more than three times that — $178,168 — on legal fees as he battles an FBI investigation into whether he improperly used campaign funds for personal expenses. He started 2018 with just $290,904 in the bank, less than half of what he had stored up a year earlier.
The five-term congressman appears to be losing support within his district. Only one donor listed in Hunter’s year-end report lives inside Hunter’s 50th Congressional District: Molly Sylvester, a local businesswoman who owns a chain of vape shops in San Diego and gave him $2,000. (Hunter is known for vaping during a 2016 committee as he was arguing against a ban on e-cigarettes on planes.)
Democratic candidate for governor Delaine Eastin raised just under $660,000 in campaign funds in 2017, a far cry from the sums being raised by her Democratic rivals in the race.
The other major Democrats in the race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang, have raised millions. Newsom leads the pack, with a haul expected to exceed $20 million.
Given the amount she’s raised, Eastin’s campaign options are severely limited. Airing a single television ad in the Los Angeles market can run $2 million a week.