The two candidates on the November ballot for controller and outside committees formed to support the candidates have raised a combined $10.8 million. About 59% of that amount went to Lanhee Chen.
Who has raised the most?
In the most competitive of the state races, Chen, a Republican, led the primary with 37% of the votes, and is leading in fundraising. Chen is a professor at Stanford University and a policy advisor. His biggest support is from individual donors in investment services. Chen has received 2,642 donations averaging $2,400 each.
Malia M. Cohen, a Democrat, is a member of the state Board of Equalization. She is backed by big donations from corporate and labor political action committees. Cohen has received 1,541 donations averaging $2,890 each.
Cohen saw a dramatic increase in contributions before the primary. In the month prior, she outraised Chen nearly 3 to 1.
Where is the money coming from?
Chen’s support has come from the Bay Area, Orange County and Los Angeles County. Cohen’s support is largely in Sacramento as well as Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Who is supporting the candidates?
Candidate committees for the controller’s race have contribution limits of $16,200. Both candidates are also supported by primarily formed committees, which cannot coordinate with the candidate and do not have contribution limits. There were 113 donors who contributed at or above the maximum amount to Chen, and 59 who contributed at or above the maximum to Cohen.
Chen’s biggest contributors were individual donors from financial and investment companies, including Richard Kovacevich, former chief executive of Wells Fargo, and his wife, who contributed a combined $132,400; Mitt Romney; Jesse Rogers, a former executive at Bain & Co., and his wife contributed a combined $99,000; Donald Beall and his wife, with a combined $82,400; real-estate investor Gerald Marcil gave $516,200; and private investor Robert Oster and his wife, Marion, gave $57,400.
Cohen’s included PACs representing the labor interests of teachers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, nurses, engineers, plumbers and electricians. She received more than $1 million from Service Employees International Union affiliates and more than $400,000 from the California Teachers Assn.
How is the money being spent?
Most of Chen’s funds have gone toward campaign consultants, office expenses and campaign workers’ salaries.
In addition to the amount Cohen’s candidate committee raised, it also has $255,800 in funds, including transfers from previous committees and other miscellaneous transactions. The vast majority of Cohen’s spending, more than $1.1 million, has been on TV or cable airtime and production. Cohen’s primarily formed committee has been focused on mailers to support Cohen and oppose Chen as well as spending to support Isaac Bryan, a candidate for state Assembly, and Sydney Kamlager, a candidate for the state Senate.
What other groups are supporting the candidates?
Outside committees have spent $97,000 in support of Cohen, including various Democratic Party committees from counties such as Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Mateo. There were no outside committees spending on behalf of Chen.