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Wilson Fund Raising Gains Steam While Rivals Spend Heavily

March 23, 1994|DANIEL M. WEINTRAUB | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — Demonstrating that he intends to be armed and ready by the time the Democrats select a nominee to oppose him, Gov. Pete Wilson disclosed Tuesday that he has raised more than $3 million for his reelection campaign since the start of the year.

The two leading Democratic contenders, meanwhile, are spending twice as much as they are raising, making it more certain than ever that the eventual survivor will be out of money after the June primary election.

Democratic State Treasurer Kathleen Brown reported raising money at a slightly slower pace early this year than she did in 1993.

Brown raised about $865,000 between Jan. 1 and March 17, according to a report filed Tuesday with the secretary of state. She spent about $2.2 million and ended the reporting period with $3.8 million on hand.

Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi reported raising $453,000 since Jan. 1. He spent about $1.45 million and was left with $58,000 in the bank.

State Sen. Tom Hayden, who is running a "protest campaign" in the Democratic primary, said he raised $40,200 during the period, most of it in loans from the candidate to the committee. Hayden, who adheres to a self-imposed, $94 limit on contributions to his campaign, reported having $3,582 in his campaign account.

Wilson raised about $3 million during the period, according to his campaign, and had just over $3.3 million on hand March 17. The governor expected to take in an additional $1 million at a Los Angeles fund-raiser Wednesday night.

Dan Schnur, Wilson's campaign press secretary, said the governor's fund-raising edge is "one of the advantages" of running without major opposition in the primary.

"The day after the primary, Kathleen Brown or John Garamendi is going to be broke and battered and bloody and we are going to be ready to go," Schnur said.

Darry Sragow, Garamendi's campaign director, said the insurance commissioner, as expected, is spending every penny he can raise on television advertising. He said Garamendi bought about $800,000 in television time in recent weeks.

"We have said all along that the minute we went on television we'd be living from hand to mouth," Sragow said. "These numbers certainly confirm that."

The Wilson and Garamendi campaigns said Brown's slowdown was evidence that her campaign is having trouble raising money. Sragow said many of Brown's contributors were able to give her money early--in an effort to frighten Garamendi out of the race--but are not financially able to contribute again.

"There is a pot of money Kathleen Brown can get, and she got it early," Sragow said. "To presume she can continue to raise money at the pace she raised money early on is not true. At some point you hit the wall."

But Brown's finance director, Ann Hollister, said the candidate was on track and pleased with the pace of her fund-raising effort. She said Brown has raised $8.2 million for the campaign since she started raising money about 20 months ago.

Hollister said Brown's numbers dipped a little in the most recent period because she had several major events in December and has more planned for April and May.

"We're on target," Hollister said. "We want to raise $10 million for the primary and we are on target. I think we're in pretty good shape."

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