Track the money that fueled the California primary for governor

A small field of contenders hoping to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown in November has raised more than $90 million. Here’s what we know.

Who's raised the most?

Gavin Newsom, whose donors range from Silicon Valley to Hollywood, has maintained a lead throughout the campaign. Large checks written to outside groups have pushed Antonio Villaraigosa to a close second. John Cox, who has done well in recent polls, has given almost $5 million to his own campaign.

Total raised (in millions)
1. Gavin Newsom (D)
Lieutenant governor
2. Antonio Villaraigosa (D)
Former mayor of Los Angeles
3. John Chiang (D)
State treasurer
4. John Cox (R)
Businessman and venture capitalist
5. Travis Allen (R)
Assemblyman from Huntington Beach
6. Delaine Eastin (D)
Former state superintendent of public instruction
7. Amanda Renteria (D)
Political aide

The money race has tightened

Newsom's early lead was sliced thanks to large infusions into his competitors' campaigns. Since April, six wealthy donors have steered more than $20 million into a committee supporting Villaraigosa. Chiang recently transferred more than $3 million banked from a past campaign.

Note: Contributions from small donors, whom committees do not have to identify, are included as lump sums on the day totals were reported. A small number of contributions without a date disclosed have been excluded.

Outside spending shatters records

Groups unaffiliated with the candidates have spent nearly $32 million, by far the most ever before a California gubernatorial primary. Most of it has gone to radio, television and mail advertisements hoping to influence the outcome of the election. Find out who is funding the groups, and the candidates they are helping or hurting.

Total spent (in millions)
1. Familes & Teachers For Villaraigosa
Sponsored by advocates of charter schools in public education and funded by some of the biggest donors in the race
Promoting Villaraigosa and Allen. Opposing Newsom and Cox.
2. Citizens Supporting Newsom
Funded by unions, primarily the Service Employees International Union, and health insurance provider Blue Shield
Promoting Newsom
3. Health Care Providers For Fiscal Accountability
Blue Shield and statewide health groups have spent on mailers alleging Chiang made "billion-dollar blunders" as treasurer
Opposing Chiang
4. Education Organizations For Newsom
The primary vehicle for the powerful California Teachers Assn. to support Newsom
Promoting Newsom
5. Nurses For Newsom
Supported by the California Nurses Assn., which endorsed Newsom for his healthcare policies
Promoting Newsom
6. African American Voter Registration Education and Participation Project
Group founded by L.A. County Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas to promote black political power
Promoting Newsom
7. Californians For Fiscal And Economic Leadership
Only outside group supporting Chiang. Funded by unions representing Southern California nurses and healthcare professionals.
Promoting Chiang
8. Public Safety Officers For Villaraigosa
Funded by Los Angeles police officers and a statewide law enforcement group
Promoting Villaraigosa
9. Asian American Small Business PAC
Spends to promote Asian American candidates across the state
Opposing Newsom

A north-south divide

Almost half of Newsom’s money has come from the Bay Area, including $6.8 million from San Francisco, where he served as mayor. Chiang, a Torrance native, lost his early lead in Los Angeles County after Villaraigosa pulled in donations from prominent Angelenos. Villaraigosa has also made inroads in the Central Valley.

The spheres of influence

Business interests and Hollywood are the biggest backers of candidates in this race. Here’s how much some noteworthy sectors have spent so far.

Note: The Times categorized contributions based on staff research. Individual donors were classified by their employer and occupation. Organizations that made donations were categorized by their primary business.

Who’s writing the checks?

Here are some of the top donors to each campaign.

Gavin Newsom

Newsom’s donor list includes famous names from across the state. He also has the most money from small donors, whose identities are not disclosed.

California Teachers Assn.

Powerful force in California politics that advocates for teachers in public schools and colleges


Blue Shield of California

San Francisco-based health insurer. Has also backed anti-Chiang outside group.


Stewart and Lynda Resnick

Billionaire couple behind Fiji Water and POM Wonderful juice. Have given to both Newsom and Villaraigosa.


Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue

Former CEO of Yahoo and her husband, a Silicon Valley investor


Andrew Hauptman

Chairman of private investment firm Andell Inc.


George Soros

Chairman of an investment management firm and philanthropist. Leading benefactor of Democratic candidates.


Peter Thiel

Venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder who supported Republican Donald Trump in 2016 presidential election


Bill Maher

Entertainer and host of HBO's "Real Time," who has encouraged Newsom to run for president in 2020


Laurene Powell Jobs

Widow of Steve Jobs and founder of Emerson Collective, an organization supporting education, immigration reform and social justice


Marshawn Lynch

NFL running back, currently with the Oakland Raiders


Antonio Villaraigosa

Villaraigosa initially relied on donations from those who supported his mayoral campaigns. A newly formed committee unaffiliated with his campaign has nearly doubled the dollars supporting his candidacy.

Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO and supporter of charter schools in Los Angeles


Bill Oberndorf

Hedge fund manager, private education advocate and Republican donor


Eli and Edythe L. Broad

Philanthropists in the arts and education


Michael R. Bloomberg

Former New York City mayor


Richard Riordan

Former L.A. mayor, who has given to both Chiang and Villaraigosa


Alice L. Walton

Walmart heiress, museum founder, horse breeder, richest woman in the world


Los Angeles Police Protective League

Union representing Los Angeles Police Department rank-and-file officers


Tutor Perini Corp.

National general contractor working on the long-delayed California high-speed rail project


Marc and Jane Nathanson

Chairman of private venture capital firm Mapleton Investments, and his wife, a psychotherapist


Stewart and Lynda Resnick

Billionaire couple behind Fiji Water and POM Wonderful juice. Have given to both Newsom and Villaraigosa.


Peter and Megan Chernin

Studio and media executive, and his wife, an education philanthropist


Ryan Seacrest

Radio and television personality


Anschutz Entertainment Group

A worldwide presenter of live music, entertainment and sporting events run by Philip Anschutz, a prominent Republican donor and L.A. developer


Meg Whitman

Business executive and 2010 Republican nominee for California governor. Has endorsed Villaraigosa.


John Chiang

Asian Americans have contributed in large quantities to Chiang, who is seeking to become California’s first Asian American governor. Despite having less of his total from the wealthy and small donors, he has still amassed a significant war chest.

United Nurses Assn.

Represents registered nurses and other healthcare professionals


C.C. and Regina Yin

Owners of several dozen McDonald’s restaurants


Jackson and Julie Yang

Owners of Seville Classics, a manufacturer and distributor of organizational and storage products


Alice and JP Wang

President and CEO of Golden Star Technology


Eric and Susan Smidt

Chairman and CEO of Harbor Freight Tools, and his wife


Wai-Yan Sandy Chau

CEO of venture capital firm Acorn Campus Ventures


Christopher Pak

President and CEO of architectural firm Archeon International Group


Wilson Wang

Real estate broker with Atlas Hospitality Group


Henry Chen

President of Regal Wheel Corp., a distributor of automotive supplies


Richard Riordan

Former L.A. mayor, who has given to both Chiang and Villaraigosa


Sources: California secretary of state, California Civic Data Coalition, Mapzen, Times analysis

About the data: Totals on this page include all contributions made to the candidates’ gubernatorial committees and other groups working on a candidate’s behalf. The records are drawn from two sources: first, periodic disclosure reports filed with the California secretary of state, which cover donations through May 24, 2018; second, reports of donations greater than $5,000 since then, which must be disclosed soon after they are received. This page was originally published May 1, 2017.

Credits: Photo editing by Andrea Roberson, development by Ben Welsh and Andrew Briz, classification algorithm by Anthony Pesce