After months of stockpiling his campaign cash, Gov. Jerry Brown has begun spending big to boost the prospects of the water bond and rainy day fund measures on the November ballot, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.
He spent $13.5 million in October on behalf of propositions 1 and 2, spending that also benefits his re-election campaign.
Public opinion polls have shown the Democratic governor with a significant lead against Republican challenger Neel Kashkari. He has not campaigned on his own behalf, instead preferring to appear in TV ads for Proposition 1, which authorizes $7.5 billion for water projects, and Proposition 2, which would modify the state's rainy day fund.
Brown reported having $21 million remaining in his re-election account and $6 million remaining in a separate campaign account to support the ballot measures. He can raise unlimited amounts in his ballot measure committee, and has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil company interests and unions, as well as $875,000 from venture capitalist John Doerr and $1.5 million from the Fisher family, the founders of Gap Inc.
Kashkari reported having $840,000 left after giving $1 million of his own money to the campaign this month, bringing his personal donations to $3 million. Kashkari has spent $6.2 million and has $140,000 in outstanding debts.
The heated race for schools superintendent has drawn the most attention and spending of any statewide race this year. Incumbent Tom Torlakson and Marshall Tuck, both Democrats, each reported Thursday that they have spent more than $2 million in the nonpartisan race.
Outside interest groups also are spending freely on their behalf. A group backed by millionaire Los Angeles philanthropists Bill Bloomfield and Eli Broad has raised $5.7 million and spent $4.5 million on behalf of Tuck in October. A campaign backed by teachers unions previously reported spending $2.1 million for Torlakson, but had not filed its updated campaign report by early Thursday evening.
In the contested race for secretary of state, Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla has greatly outraised and outspent his Republican rival, Pete Peterson. Campaign finance reports show Padilla has spent $2.9 million this year and has $228,000 left with $8,000 in debts. Peterson reported spending $271,000 this year and has $57,000 remaining. However he has outstanding debts of $64,000, the filing shows.
All state campaigns face a midnight Thursday deadline to report their fundraising and spending totals through Oct. 18.
Several statewide initiatives on the November ballot also are attracting millions of dollars in spending.
Proposition 45 would give the state insurance commissioner authority to approve rates for certain types of health insurance policies, similar to the process for automobile and homeowner's insurance. The campaigns for and against the measure had not yet filed their reports.
Proposition 46 would lift the ceiling on damages for pain and suffering caused by medical negligence to $1.1 million, from the $250,000 and would require doctors with hospital privileges to submit to random drug and alcohol tests. It has drawn powerful support from trial lawyers but faces stiff opposition from groups representing doctors and insurance companies. The campaigns for and against the measure had not yet filed their reports.
And Proposition 48 would approve an off-reservation casino northwest of Fresno to be run by the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians. It has support from Las Vegas-based operator Station Casinos, but other tribes oppose the casino, which would create new competition.
Opponents reported spending $12.5 million this year out of $13.3 million raised. That includes more than $5 million in in-kind billboard, television, Internet and lawn advertising from the Table Mountain Rancheria of Friant.
Associated Press writers Judy Lin and Fenit Nirappil contributed to this report.