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CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS : THE PROPOSITIONS : Funds Fuel Prop. 187 Fight; Tobacco Gives Millions to Prop. 188

October 29, 1994|DAN MORAIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — With 10 days left and millions more still to be spent in the 1994 campaign, the Republican Party this month pumped a total of $700,000 into the anti-illegal immigration Proposition 187 and an anti-crime initiative, while the tobacco industry poured another $10 million into its Proposition 188.

Foes of Proposition 187, meanwhile, raised more than $600,000 in the first three weeks of October, pushing their total past $1.4 million--more than twice what their rivals have raised.

The California Republican Party boosted the pro-Proposition 187 campaign with a contribution of $286,000, and another $428,000 to the anti-crime "three strikes" Proposition 184, campaign finance reports filed Friday show.

The money was spent on mass mailings of endorsements and absentee ballot applications to tens of thousands of Republican voters. The effort is aimed at helping Republican candidates who have been championing the measures in their bids to win state offices.

"The majority of the candidates are running on Yes on 187, and 184," state GOP chief Tirso del Junco said Friday. "You've got to do due diligence to advance the cause."

Political consultants trying to defeat Proposition 187 are spending much of their money on radio ads. Although they have raised more than their opposition, they remain far short of their goal of raising $3 million to $5 million.

"We had the initial goal of $3 million," said Joel Maliniak, spokesman for the No-on-187 campaign. "Will we reach it? Who knows? But every day, more people are announcing their opposition and are sending in their checks."

The California Teachers Assn., the largest public school union and one of the largest donors to state politics, gave $100,000 earlier this month to defeat Proposition 187, pushing its total to $443,000 during the campaign.

Proposition 187's backers are more than $400,000 in debt, and raised only $23,000 in addition to the contribution by the state Republican Party.

The season's richest initiative campaign is Proposition 188, backed by out-of-state cigarette manufacturers seeking to repeal tough anti-smoking laws in California.

Tobacco companies have spent more than $18 million to convince voters that Proposition 188 is a reasonable compromise between smokers and nonsmokers, including $10 million this month. Leading the charge is Philip Morris U.S.A, the nation's largest cigarette maker, which has pumped $12.5 million into the campaign, official finance reports show.

R J Reynolds, the tobacco subsidiary of R J R-Nabisco, has poured $3.4 million into the Yes-on-188 campaign. Other tobacco firms have spent more than $1.9 million on the campaign.

The tobacco companies are spending millions to buy commercial time on radio and television stations, including cable systems. They have spent another $300,000 to buy endorsements on at least six slate mailers with such names as Your Pro-Choice Voter Guide and California Democratic Checklist.

"Eighteen million? This is astounding," said Jack Nicholl, the consultant trying to defeat Proposition 188. "If there ever was a doubt that this was a David-Goliath campaign, there isn't now."

Nicholl raised $308,000 in the first three weeks of October, for a total of $546,000. His biggest donors are the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Assn. and the American Lung Assn., each of which has given $100,000 or more.

The donations enabled Proposition 188 opponents to air radio commercials in which former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop blasts the measure as a tobacco industry lie.

Another high-priced campaign involves Proposition 186, to scrap the current health care system and create a government-run system. Opponents raised $3 million in the first three weeks of October, pushing their total to $8.8 million. Several major insurance companies and hospital groups have given six-figure donations to kill the measure.

Backers of Proposition 186 raised $662,000 in the first three weeks of October--almost all of it coming in donations of less than $1,000. The Yes on 186 campaign has raised $2.5 million so far.

Proposition 185, which seeks to add a 4-cent per gallon tax to gasoline purchases to fund rail projects, is being opposed by oil companies. The opposition campaign has raised $686,000, with Chevron giving the most--$150,000. Shell Oil has given $129,000. The proponents' contribution report was not available Friday.

* LUNGREN, UMBERG CLASH: Klaas ad generates more sparks in attorney general race. B8

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